MOSCOW, July 5 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court’s Presidium on Thursday refused to toughen sentence for ex-Deputy Culture Minister Grigory Pirumov, who had been earlier sentenced to 1.5 years in prison and a 1-million-ruble fine ($17,000) for embezzlement, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.

The court took the side of defense lawyers, who insisted that prosecutors in their appeal did not specify violations committed during the case hearing in lower courts. Moreover, Pirumov has voluntarily paid all damages to the Culture Ministry, according to the ministry’s representative.

In October 2017, 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.

On December 19, the Moscow City Court toughened punishment for Pirumov. The court imposed a 1-million-ruble fine ($17,000) on ex-official and deprived him of the second-class medal of the Order of Merit for the Motherland. However, prosecutors again filed an appeal against Pirumov’s sentence demanding a 5-year prison term for him.

As part of the case four other defendants including Mazo, received prison sentence from 1 to 1.5 years and were released as Pirumov.

Three more defendants, BaltStroy manager Alexander Kochenov, businessman Andrey Kokushkin and ex-director of the State Center of Contemporary Art Mikhail Mindlin, received suspended sentence ranging from 1 year to 1 year and 5 months.

Investigators claimed 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, Chairman of the Russian Government Dmitry Medvedev relieved Pirumov of his post.

Currently, Pirumov is in detention as part of a new embezzlement case launched against him. He is charged with embezzling funds allocated for the construction of the Hermitage Museum’s buildings.