MOSCOW, September 11 (RAPSI, Kirill Ryabchikov) – Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court on Wednesday raised the question of return of an embezzlement case involving theater director Kirill Serebrennikov to prosecutors, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.

Judge Irina Akkuratova said that there are violations in the case that could not be rectified as part of the trial.

Moreover, the court put the question on possible change of restrictive measures in relation to two defendants.

All defendants except producer Alexey Malobrodsky did not object to the judge’s suggestions. Prosecutors in turn strongly disagreed with the proposals.

On April 15, the court commissioned a repeated comprehensive expert examination in the case. The examination was ordered to be conducted with the involvement of experts in a center of the Justice Ministry. The repeated comprehensive expert examination was the court’s initiative. Prosecutors insisted on the second economic study while the defense petitioned for a cultural and social evaluation.

According to investigators, defendants in the case stole 133 of 214 million rubles ($3.3 million) of budget funds allocated to the Seventh Studio company in 2011-2014 for development and popularization of contemporary art in Russia as part of the project Platforma.

Serebrennikov was arrested in late August 2017 and then placed under house arrest. In early November, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court seized assets belonging to Serebrennikov including apartment, car, and money in the amount of more than 360,000 rubles ($5,300), over €60,000, and $4,000.

Investigators believe that he was an organizer of the budget money embezzlement. He allegedly created Seventh Studio stage company to actualize Platforma project for promotion of art and called alleged accomplices into the organization. He pleaded not guilty.

Other defendants in the case are ex-official of Russia’s Culture Ministry and current director of the Russian Academic Youth Theater Sophia Apfelbaum, ex-Seventh Studio head Yury Itin, ex-general producer Alexey Malobrodsky, ex-chief accountant of Seventh Studio stage company Nina Maslyayeva.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty calling charges against them pointless and absurd. Moreover, Serebrennikov and Malobrodsky lay the blame on Maslyayeva. The woman is being tried separately. She has admitted guilt in full.

One more defendant, producer Yekaterina Voronova has been put on the international wanted list and arrested in absentia.