MOSCOW, February 14 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has upheld a lower court’s order to arrest VIM Airlines owner Rashid Mursekayev, charged with abuse of authority, in absentia, RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom.

Mursekayev has been put on the international wanted list. In December, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant for Mursekayev.

According to investigators, Mursekayev and Kalashnikova fled Russia to hide from investigative authorities. VIM Airlines CEO and chief accountant, Alexander Kochnev and Yekaterina Panteleyeva, are also listed as the defendants in the case. They are to stay under house arrest until February 28, 2018.

Investigators believe that between 2015 and 2017 the defendants abused their office positions to buy overpriced aviation fuel from companies controlled by Mursekayev.

In addition, managers of VIM Airlines issued fake financial statements in order to hide their losses, estimated at 2.5 billion rubles (about $42.5 million). Four companies were recognized as victims in the criminal case, allegedly they lost 782 million rubles (about $13.2 million) from actions of VIM Airlines’ managers.

On October 17, a criminal case was launched over premeditated bankruptcy of VIM Airlines.

Investigators claim certain top managers and owners of the air carrier intentionally made losing bargains in 2016 and 2017 including those aimed at siphoning of assets abroad. The deals led to enormous financial outlay and undoubtedly resulted in the company’s failure to pay debts to creditors in full.

Earlier, probe was opened into VIM Airlines employees over alleged embezzlement. According to investigators, employees of the VIM Airlines continued to sell tickets to clients despite being aware that the airline was not able to transfer passengers because there were not enough funds to buy fuel. Investigators believe that the employees embezzled more than one million rubles ($17,000).

In late September, the Investigative Committee official representative Svetlana Petrenko told RAPSI that investigative authorities took measures to recover damage caused by employees of the airline as part of the notorious embezzlement case.