Monday, January 18, 2021

Moscow court sentences U.S. citizen charged with $167M embezzlement to 11 years in prison

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The Moscow Basmanny District Court had sentenced U.S. citizen Dmitry Kotlyarenko charged with embezzlement of over 11 billion rubles (about $167 million) and money laundering in absentia to 11 years in a penal colony, the spokesperson of the court Yunona Tsareva told RAPSI.

The hearings were conducted in absentia, as the U.S. authorities refused to extradite Kotlyarenko. He was found guilty of large scale fraud and money laundering.

The period of the sentence served is to begin when Kotlyarenko is extradited or arrested, according to Tsareva.

Investigators believe that in 2005 through 2008 Kotlyarenko was a member of an organized criminal group headed by former Finance Minister of the Moscow Region Alexey Kuznetsov.

Together with his co-conspirators, the statement reads, Kotlyarenko has unlawfully obtained the right to recover debts of enterprises operating in the housing and utilities sector of the Moscow Region and embezzled funds of Moscow Regional Investment Trust Company.

In 2014, a Moscow court issued an arrest warrant in absentia for the businessman, who fled to the United States after his release on parole in Russia in a large scale fraud case.

Read MoreEuropol highlights Russian money as biggest laundering threat

Kotlyarenko, CEO of RIGroup and board chairman with affiliated company RIGroup–Finance, was convicted of large-scale fraud in Russia.

After his arrest in Cyprus and extradition to Russia in 2011, he made a deal with prosecutors and was only tried under one charge, embezzlement of 1 billion rubles ($15.3 million at the current exchange rate) from a construction project in the Moscow Region.

In July 2011, the Odinsovsky District Court in Moscow sentenced him to three years in prison, but 10 counts of fraud and money laundering were brought against him in 2012.

In November 2012, Kotlyarenko was released on parole and immediately went to the Untied States, contrary to his parole conditions.

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