MOSCOW, August 12 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court on Monday released ex-Deputy Culture Minister Grigory Pirumov from detention and placed him under house arrest until November 16 as part of a 450-million-ruble (about $7 million) embezzlement case, RAPSI was told in the court’s press service.

Another detained defendant, head of Rospan company Nikita Kolesnikov, was also ordered to be put under house arrest for the same term.

Pirumov stands charged with embezzlement and creation of a criminal organization. However, last week prosecutors forwarded a request to remove gang organizing charges from the case to the Investigative Committee.

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 Russ

On August 8, 2019, Moscow’s Preobrazhensky District Court granted parole to Pirumov as part of this case.