MOSCOW, December 19 (RAPSI, Nikita Shiryayev) – The Moscow City Court on Tuesday toughened punishment for ex-Deputy Culture Minister Grigory Pirumov, who had been found guilty of embezzling public funds allocated for restoration of cultural heritage objects, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.

The court imposed a 1-million-ruble fine ($17,000) on Pirumov and deprived him of the second-class medal of the Order of Merit for the Motherland.

Prosecutors in their appeal demanded to give the defendant 5 years in prison. Defense lawyer Fedor Kupriyanov and victims in the case asked the court to uphold the initial sentence.

In October, the Dorogomilovsky District Court of Moscow sentenced Pirumov to 1.5 years in a penal colony. The court took into consideration the time Pirumov spent in detention and freed him in the courtroom.

The defendant pleaded guilty in full and his case was reviewed under special procedure. Prosecutor in the case noted that Pirumov met all conditions of his deal with investigators.

Other defendants in the case are head of the Center of restoration Oleg Ivanov, and director of the Ministry’s department of property management and investment policy Boris Mazo, project manager of companies Stroykomplekt and Baltstroy Vladimir Svanbek, BaltStroy manager Alexander Kochenov, businessman Andrey Kokushkin and ex-director of the State Center of Contemporary Art Mikhail Mindlin.

In late August, BaltStroy head Dmitry Sergeyev received a 4.5-year suspended sentence. According to the prosecutor, the fraud involving Sergeyev resulted in the embezzlement of 71 million rubles ($1.2 million) and the defendant himself unlawfully obtained 11 million rubles ($188,000).

In June, it was revealed that former Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory Pirumov and other defendants in the case paid about 163 million rubles in damages (about $2.7 million).

Investigators believe that between 2012 and 2016 the defendants embezzled over 160 million rubles allocated on restoration of the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, Ivanovsky Convent in Moscow and other objects across Russia.

In December 2016, Dmitry Medvedev, the Chairman of the Russian Government, relieved Pirumov of his post.