A former deputy culture minister of Russia has been charged with organizing a criminal network in the embezzlement of money designated for St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum.
The Russian Investigative Committee said on April 7 that it had served Grigory Pirumov the previous day with criminal charges related to fraud of some 450 million rubles ($6.9 million) in funds slated for the construction of a new depository and other works at the world-famous art gallery.
Pirumov's attorney, Fyodor Kupriyanov, told RIA Novosti on April 6 that his client, who is in detention, had been charged under Article 210 of Russia's Criminal Code.
Pirumov, 56, has been detained in corruption cases before and was given a 1 1/2 year prison sentence for fraud in 2017.
Russian officials say Pirumov was involved in the fraudulent activity with Nikita Kolesnikov of the Rospan group and the Culture Ministry's former property management department director, Boris Mazo.
Mazo is not in Russia and is on an international wanted list.
Russian investigators say Pirumov, Mazo, and Kolesnikov secured government funds with no intention of using the money for Hermitage construction works and instead transferred money to their own companies, TASS reported.