MOSCOW, May 14 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has extended detention of ex-Deputy Culture Minister Grigory Pirumov charged with 450-million-ruble (about $7 million) embezzlement until August 16, according to the court’s press service.

Detention of another defendant in the case, head of Rospan company Nikita Kolesnikov, was extended as well.

Investigators believe that Pirumov, Kolesnikov, wanted ex-director of the Culture Ministry’s department of property management and investment policy Boris Mazo and their accomplices have stolen at least 450 million rubles (about $7 million) allocated for the construction of the Hermitage Museum’s buildings. The defendants have pleaded not guilty. 

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 (about $15,000) 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.

Investigators claimed that between 2012 and 2016 Pirumov, Mazo and several other defendants embezzled over 160 million rubles ($2.4 million) allocated on restoration of the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, Ivanovsky Convent in Moscow and other objects across Russia.

Pirumov was relieved of his post in December 2016 on an order Chairman of the Russian Government Dmitry Medvedev.