MOSCOW, March 30 (RAPSI) – The Federal Security Service’s (FSB) officers have conducted searches in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the museum announced on its website on Thursday.

Searches in the engineering department’s buildings were related to a criminal case earlier launched against several individuals allegedly involved in embezzling money during construction of new facilities for the museum’s use, the statement reads.

Museum officials provided law enforcement authorities all information required including documents on two construction contracts, the museum’s press service said.

Earlier, Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court placed deputy director of the Hermitage Museum Mikhail Novikov under house arrest. Novikov’s arrest was reportedly connected with the so-called “case of restorers” opened against ex-Deputy Minister of Culture Grigory Pirumov and several other officials.

Investigators believe that defendants have stolen over 100 million rubles ($1.5 million) of public funds allocated for restoration of cultural heritage objects.

Investigation has presumably started basing on a report by the Auditing Chamber on restoration of the Izborsk Fortress in the Pskov region presented yet in 2013; however, it may also involve such cultural heritage sites as the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, as well as works carried out at the Ivanovsky Convent in Moscow, and a theater in Pskov, as reported earlier.