MOSCOW, January 28 (RAPSI) – A man suspected of stealing a painting by prominent Russian artist of Greek origin Arkhip Kuindzhi from Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery has pleaded not guilty, according to video records published by the Russian Interior Ministry on Monday.

The suspect claims that he has not committed the crime and styles himself as a law-abiding person.

The 31-year old suspect was arrested in the Moscow Region on Monday morning. The work “Ai Petri” was also found and seized from a project under construction in the Moscow Region’s Odintsovo District, the official spokesperson of Russia’s Interior Ministry Irina Volk told RAPSI.

According to preliminary information, the crime has been committed from mercenary motives. In 2018, the suspect was arrested by police on suspicion of drug possession. By the moment of his current arrest, he was under travel restrictions. The suspected thief could face up to 15 years if convicted of stealing the painting.

Kuindzhi painted “Ai Petri. Crimea” depicting a mountain in the Crimea peninsula in 1908. The work was stolen from the Tretyakov Art Gallery on January 27.