MOSCOW, July 27 (RAPSI) - Moscow’s Basmanny District Court issued an arrest warrant in absentia for former vice president of state-owned innovation hub Skolkovo Alexei Beltyukov who stands charged with embezzlement, RAPSI reported on Monday from the courtroom.

According to investigators, Russian lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov assisted Beltyukov in the embezzlement.

Beltyukov allegedly paid Ponomaryov $750,000 of the foundation's money, without management approval, for lectures and research projects between February 2011 and February 2012.

An investigation was launched into Beltyukov's actions to analyze the subject, the content and the academic value of the lectures that Ponomaryov was contracted to provide. Ponomaryov has pleaded not guilty. He claims the accusations are politically motivated.

The Investigative Committee reported in May that it has opened an embezzlement case against Beltyukov.

Ponomaryov was placed on the international wanted list in connection with the Skolkovo Foundation embezzlement case on July 17.

Ponomaryov’s attorney Maria Bast said in court that her client had repaid his debt to the Skolkovo Foundation.

Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin opened a case against Ponomaryov on suspicion of embezzlement of Skolkovo funds. Charges were brought against the MP in absentia.

Ponomaryov, who is living abroad, has denied the charges and has refused to return to Russia for questioning. He said he did not trust Russian courts but would talk with investigators by telephone, via Skype or Viber, or on Facebook.

In August 2013, Moscow's Gagarinsky District Court ruled that Ponomaryov must pay 2.7 million rubles to the Skolkovo Foundation, Russia's high-tech development center, for an unreasonably overpriced service. The Moscow City Court upheld the ruling in November.