MOSCOW, February 4 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Presnensky District Court has acquitted ex-director of a private non-profit Museum of Russian Icons Elena Knyazeva in a case over failure to return 16 orthodox icons of XVI-XVIII centuries to Russia, RAPSI has learnt in the court’s press service.

Knyazeva has been acquitted for absence of a crime in her actions.

According to investigators, the woman has entered into a criminal conspiracy with members of a gang organized by a foreign citizen. On September 30, 2010, she filed a declaration for temporary export of 16 orthodox icons of XVI-XVIII centuries to hold the exhibition “From Russia With Love” in the U. S. In November 2015, the term of temporary export expired but icons have never been submitted to the Moscow Customs.

She has been charged with non-return of cultural values to Russia committed by an organized group. She has pleaded not guilty.

In December 2017, the court sent the case back to prosecutors. Therefore, the case again reached court only in September 2018.

During the investigation, all icons have been returned to Russia.