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MOSCOW, August 27 (RAPSI) – A Moscow District Court ordered a State Duma lawmaker Tuesday to pay 2.728 million rubles ($82,776) to the Skolkovo Foundation, Russia's high-tech development center, over payments allegedly improperly made to him by one of its officials.
Skolkovo had claimed 9 million rubles ($273,088) from deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, who Russian investigators claim was illegally paid from Skolkovo funds by the center’s senior vice president Alexei Beltyukov between February 2011 and February 2012 for a series of lectures and research projects.
An investigation was launched into Beltyukov's actions to analyze the academic value of the lectures Ponomaryov was contracted to provide.
Spokesman Vladimir Markin said previously the Investigative Committee planned to launch criminal proceedings against Ponomaryov as part of the Skolkovo Foundation's lawsuit and would be requesting he be stripped of his parliamentary immunity.
Beltyukov was suspended from his post in May as a result of the investigation, a Skolkovo spokesman said at that time.
Both Beltyukov and Ponomaryov deny any wrongdoing.
The Skolkovo Foundation, set up in 2010 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, is the primary agency for the Skolkovo high-tech development hub, which includes a business center, a science and technology institute and a management school. The project is intended to showcase the drive to diversify and modernize the Russian economy.
Billionaire Renova Group president Viktor Vekselberg is the foundation's president and head of the Skolkovo Fund.
The Beltyukov-Ponomaryov case is the latest of several targeting Skolkovo executives.
Criminal investigations were opened into two senior Skolkovo executives in February over the alleged embezzlement of $800,000.
Law enforcement officials carried out searches at the offices of the Skolkovo Foundation’s top managers in April and questioned several officials, including Vekselberg.
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