"I am quite bad at it". Serebrennikov on his detention and indictment
Serebrennikov claimed that as the artistic director of Seventh Studio, he had nothing to do with money, did not prepare financial statements and did not control expenses.
Director Kirill Serebrennikov, detained the day before on suspicion of swindling, told about the charge and details of his detention. The director is placed in a two-man cell of the temporary detention center in Petrovka, TASS reports. Serebrennikov called his cellmate, detained for a bribe, "normal and polite". At the same time, Kommersant writes that the artistic director of Gogol Center spent the night in Matrosskaya Tishina prison. At the time of detention, the lawyer of the director, Dmitry Kharitonov, knew nothing about the planned investigative measures. Serebrennikov was detained at midnight in a hotel in St. Petersburg, where he was on a business trip. Then he was being taken to Moscow Investigative Committee by a minibus for about 9 hours. Lawyer Kharitonov was in Vladimir and came to investigators only after lunch. All this time the director was watching TV with the investigators and discussing topics not related to the criminal case.
Serebrennikov sees his detention as a showing off, since, in his opinion, there was no sense "to go after him for nine hours in one direction, and then return back for another nine hours". The director said that he was struck by the accusation and considers it "surprising".
During the interrogation, Kirill Serebrennikov did not admit his guilt in organizing swindling. The Investigative Committee charged the director with Swindling on an especially large scale (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code). Earlier, while being a witness, he said that he had nothing to do with money matters in Seventh Studio, and put all responsibility on his colleagues, who began to cooperate with the investigation.
Serebrennikov argued that as the artistic director of Seventh Studio, he had nothing to do with money, did not prepare financial statements and did not control expenses. "I am quite bad at it," he noted. He explained that he had been responsible only for the artistic part of the project, and finances had been controlled by three of his already arrested colleagues in Seventh Studio.
According to the director, it would be difficult to commit any financial fraud, since the schedule of artistic events was very busy, and there was a tough competition for budgets between individual projects within the framework of Platforma.
Today, the Basmanny court will choose a measure of restraint for Serebrennikov. The defense intends to enlist the guarantees of famous actors, directors, public and cultural figures. In addition, the lawyers are ready to pay a bail to be appointed by court for the release from arrest.
According to the inference of the Investigative Committee, Kirill Serebrennikov was the initiator of the theft of at least 68 million rubles ($1.1m) of budget funds allocated between 2011 and 2014 by the Ministry of Culture for the implementation of Platforma project. He came up with this project and developed it in 2011. During the period from 2011 to 2014 the Ministry of Culture allocated more than 214 million rubles ($3.6m) from the federal budget to realize and finance it. To implement the project Serebrennikov founded Seventh Studio. The director drew his friends Yuri Itin, who became general director of Studio, ex-director of Gogol Center Alexey Malobrodsky and Ekaterina Voronova who became general producers of the new project, and Nina Maslyaeva, who headed the accounting department of Studio. Serebrennikov himself became artistic director.
The investigators believe, relying on the testimony of bookkeeper Nina Maslyaeva, all instructions came from Serebrennikov and Itin. The remaining defendants annually developed event plans within the framework of Platforma project, "containing knowingly unreliable inflated information about their quantity and cost". Then they presented them to the Ministry of Culture as a justification for the amount of required budget funding. Later they also prepared and submitted financial and creative reports to the Ministry, indicating that the subsidies received by Seventh Studio were spent in full on the previously outlined activities.
In addition, according to the investigation, on the instructions of Serebrennikov, the employees of Studio signed fictitious contracts with controlled entities and private entrepreneurs, who allegedly carried out works within the framework of the projects. The funds transferred under these agreements were cashed and distributed by Serebrennikov among the other alleged participants in the theft.
Notably, ex-accountant Maslyaeva decided to give the testimony against Serebrennikov after the investigator had promised to organize a transfer under house arrest and a minimum term when considering the case in a special order. Nevertheless, she is still kept in the detention facility. Yuri Itin was placed by the court under house arrest at the request of the investigation, and Alexey Malobrodsky is in custody. General producer of Seventh Studio Ekaterina Voronova was declared wanted.