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Moscow Theater Director Said Detained In Serebrennikov Case

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Sofia Apfelbaum (right) is reportedly suspected of helping Kirill Serebrennikov (left) obtain state funding by providing falsified documentation. (file photo)

The head of a theater in the heart of Moscow has been detained in connection with a high-profile case in which another prominent Russian director has been charged with embezzlement.

In a statement on October 26, the federal Investigative Committee said that Russian Academic Youth Theater (RAMT) Director Sofia Apfelbaum is a suspect in an ongoing fraud case against theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov.

Investigators claim in the statement that Apfelbaum helped Serebrennikov’s dramatic collective, Seventh Studio, obtain 214 million rubles ($3.7 million) in state funding by providing falsified documents.

It also accuses her of helping to prepare false reports on Seventh Studio's expenses in 2011-2014, when she was working at the Culture Ministry.

"In the nearest future Apfelbaum will be charged with... fraud committed by an organized group," the statement said.

The daily Izvestia reported earlier that police detained Apfelbaum after she was questioned at the Investigative Committee's headquarters.

Serebrennikov has taken part in antigovernment protests and voiced concern about the increasing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.

He was charged in August with organizing the embezzlement of 68 million rubles ($1.1 million) allocated for a project in 2011-14, and is under house arrest.

Serebrennikov has been known for taking part in antigovernment protests and voicing concern about the increasing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the country.

Prominent cultural figures in Russia and abroad have expressed concern over the probe and have called for a transparent investigation.

Ballet great Mikhail Baryshnikov suggested in May that political motives were behind what he called the "repression" of an outspoken advocate of freedom.

With reporting by Izvestia
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