The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on Monday charged a former banker with stealing money that the now-defunct Yukos company spent on charity, despite the absence of complaints from either Yukos or charity activists.
Dmitry Lyubinin faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of misappropriating 20 million rubles ($600,000) in 2004, the prosecuting agency said on its website.
Lyubinin, who is alleged to be in Switzerland, was charged in absentia, the report said.
Lyubinin, an ex-banker and former employee of the state-run Deposit Insurance Agency, was working along with ex-Yukos employees Mikhail Trushin and Alexei Kurtsin, who are accused of stealing a total of 465 million rubles, also through charity payments, prosecutors said.
Kurtsin was convicted to 15-1/2 years in prison in 2010, and Trushin is on the run and on a federal wanted list over the case.
Kurtsin and Trushin were included on a 40-name list of Yukos employees recognized as victims of political repressions in 2007 by leading Russian rights activists, including Lyudmila Alexeyeva.
The list was ignored by Amnesty International group, which only granted the status of prisoners of conscience to Yukos ex-head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev.
No one was available for comment on Monday at the office of the Coordination Center for Social Programs, a charity working with the disabled that Lyubinin allegedly embezzled the money through. No reports about the group’s complaints against Yukos were available.
Lyubinin, not a Yukos employee, was acting as a middleman in the case, Kommersant said in 2007.
The case served to target Trushin and was part of a broad crackdown on senior Yukos managers, a source close to Khodorkovsky’s legal team told RIA Novosti.
“The disabled had no complaints, and Yukos had no complaints, but the investigators still decided the money was embezzled,” said the source, who asked for anonymity because he had no formal ties to Lyubinin’s defense team.
The case was forwarded to a district court in Moscow on Monday. No date for a hearing has been set.
Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were convicted earlier to remain in prison until 2016 over two related cases dealing with Yukos’s alleged economic embezzlement. Their supporters insist the cases were revenge by President Vladimir Putin for Khodorkovsky’s political ambitions.