Prominent Russian economist Vladimir Mau, who was given a state decoration by President Vladimir Putin five years ago, is reportedly facing fraud and embezzlement charges.
What Happened: Mau was placed under house arrest on Thursday, until Aug. 7, over suspected embezzlement of 21 million rubles ($400,000) from the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, where he is a rector, reported Reuters.
The country’s interior ministry reportedly conducted searches at Mau’s home and the homes of the employees of the institute.
The ministry said the charges are part of a case involving former deputy education minister Marina Rakova and Sergei Zuev, Mau’s fellow rector at the institute, according to Reuters.
The 62-year-old Mau is said to have links to top Russian policymakers and is a board member of the petroleum-giant Gazprom (OTC: OGZPY).
Why It Matters: Mau made appearances at the annual St Petersburg Forum, a showcase event for business and finance, and was linked to Yegor Gaidar, who was responsible for carrying out “shock” reforms in Russia after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, noted Reuters.
Mau received the Order for Merits to the Fatherland 3rd Class in 2017 by Putin.
The economist’s lawyer Alexey Dudnik reportedly said he would appeal the house arrest. Mau called the accusations absurd, reported Reuters, citing the Interfax news agency.
Russia’s opposition has criticized the case against Rakova and others as a part of a Kremlin campaign to exert control over the country’s education, as per the report.
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