Russian Venture Company board member detained over $20m-embezzlement

Russian Venture Company board member detained over $20m-embezzlement
Yan Ryazantsev Photo: Grigory Sobchenko / Kommersant

According to the investigation, the accused stole money under the guise of investing in the production of solar batteries in the US.

Former member of the board of the Russian Venture Company (RVC) Yan Ryazantsev and former senior adviser to Anatoly Chubais in Rusnano Mikhail Chuchkevich were arrested at the ICR request in the case of an especially large scale Swindling (part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code), K ommersant reports. According to investigators, the arrestee stole 1.3 billion rubles ($20m) under the guise of investment in the production of solar batteries in the US. Arrestees denied their guilt.

The case was initiated by the second department for the investigation of priority cases of the Moscow ICR. The investigation believes that in 2012 Ryazantsev learned that the RVC is discussing investments in the development of US-based Alion Energy Inc., which is engaged in developments in the field of robotics, automation of design and construction of solar power plants. In December, Ryazantsev entered into a criminal conspiracy with Chuchkevich, who was the member of the Alion Energy Inc. board. From 2012 to 2016, Ryazantsev and Chuchkevich transferred $22.7 million from the settlement account of RVC at Binbank PJSC to the account of Alion Energy through the British fund RVC I LP, contrary to the decisions of the RVC board, which refused to invest in an American firm. As it turned out, the manufacturer of solar batteries got through the pre-bankruptcy.

When the funds were at the disposal of the American company, Ryazantsev and Chuchkevich allegedly transferred them to the accounts of other legal entities, cashed and appropriated. The damage to the RVC in the ruble equivalent was estimated at 1.3 billion rubles.

Ryazantsev and Chuchkevich were detained by ICR officers. The Presnensky District Court arrested them for two months on charges of fraud. One of the arguments in favor of arrest was the fact that Chuchkevich had a residence permit in Ukraine. According to the version of the ICR, he could escape.

Both arrestees refused their guilt. Their defense plans to appeal against the court’s decision in the Moscow City Court. The investigation, however, believes that their involvement in the fraudulent scheme is confirmed by documents seized in the case and testimony of witnesses. New figurants may appear. RVK reported that Ryazantsev was fired last year, and investigative actions are being carried out over violations in the investment discipline in the company. The company is recognized as a victim in the case. It has the right to file a suit against the accused.

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