University rector Sergey Zuyev has been indicted on new charges for large-scale fraud, Interfax reported on Thursday, November 25.
The rector of the Moscow School for the Social and Economic Sciences (“Shaninka”) and the director of RANEPA’s Institute for Social Sciences, Zuyev is already in pre-trial custody as a suspect in an embezzlement case.
The new charges against Zuyev are related to a second major fraud case also launched against Russia’s former deputy education minister Marina Rakova and Evgeny Zak, the former deputy director of the ministry’s Foundation for New Forms of Education Development (FNFRO). Rakova and Zak were indicted in the second case on November 19.
According to investigators, Zuyev — as director of RANEPA’s Institute for Social Sciences — entered into a contract with Rakova and Zak in 2018, and fictitiously employed 12 Education Ministry employees as part-time research assistants at the institute.
Allegedly, these 12 staff members didn’t actually complete any work, but nevertheless collected salaries from the institute up until 2020. According to official estimates, this scheme cost RANEPA more than 20 million rubles (around $270,000) in damages.
The first fraud case against Sergey Zuyev, Marina Rakova, and Evgeny Zak was launched in late September. According to the investigation, Shaninka received state funding to fulfill two government contracts without ever completing the work. Officials say Rakova used her position in the Education Ministry to lobby for this allocation of public money. Investigators estimate that the scheme caused 50 million ($670,000) rubles in damages.
According to Interfax, another suspect in the first fraud case, Shaninka’s executive director Kristina Kryuchkova, has pleaded guilty and begun cooperating with investigators. Reportedly, Kryuchkova has been transferred to house arrest; all other suspects in the case remain in pre-trial detention.
Update: The press service for Moscow’s Tverskoy Court confirmed to TASS that Kirstina Kryuchkova was released from pre-trial detention and placed under house arrest.
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