MOSCOW, May 31 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has refused to transfer an appeal filed by the former deputy head of the Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturizm) Dmitry Amunts, who had been sentenced to seven years in a penal colony for implication in embezzlement of 29 billion rubles ($467 million) from now-defunct Mezhprombank, to the court's Presidium, the press-service of the court has told RAPSI.

According to a lawyer of Amunts, the embezzled funds did not belong to the bank but rather to its clients. Moreover, there were no violations related to operations with the bank’s own assets that were held on its own deposit accounts, the attorney added.

However, a judge overseeing this case noted that there were no violations of criminal procedure laws during investigation of this case or subsequent trial.

In April 2017, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court passed the sentence upon Amunts. In addition to the prison term, the former official was deprived of the right to perform financial and operational activities in the banking sector for 3 years. The court also granted a lawsuit of victims demanding 28.5 billion rubles ($459 million) from the defendant.

Earlier, prosecutors demanded a 7-year prison term for Amunts.

Investigators claim that Amunts along with ex-Mezhprombank executive Alexander Didenko and several other accomplices were members of a criminal group that embezzled the funds from the bank in 2008-2009.

Didenko pleaded guilty and received a 3-year suspended sentence in July 2015. However, in September 2015, the Moscow City Court changed Didenko’s suspended sentence to real jail term.

Amunts has pleaded not guilty.

Mezhprombank’s operating license was revoked in October 2010 by the Central Bank over failure to comply with the regulator’s requirements or to satisfy creditors’ claims. In November, Mezhprombank was declared bankrupt. At that time, the bank owed 31.8 billion rubles ($501 million) to the Central Bank while the creditors’ claims totaled 85 billion rubles ($1.3 billion).

Businessman Sergey Pugachev, who owned the bank, was arrested in absentia by a Moscow court and put on the international wanted list in December 2013.