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Prominent Architect Charged for Abusing Office

The head of a top Russian architecture school faces criminal charges for overstepping his authority in a construction deal, a news report said Thursday.

Investigators on Wednesday opened a criminal case against Alexander Kudryavtsev, head of the prestigious Moscow Architectural Institute, and his deputy, Ilya Lezhava, on abuse-of-office charges, an unidentified police official told Interfax.

Kudryavtsev and Lezhava face up to four years in prison, if convicted.

The charges relate to a contract for construction works signed between the Moscow Architectural Institute and unnamed investors from 2002 to 2008, the news agency said, citing investigators.

Kudryavtsev and Lezhava, acting on behalf of the institute, gave the investors incorrect bank details when agreeing the terms of the contract and failed to inform the institute's accountants.

As a result, the institute lost out on more than 800,000 rubles ($25,000), investigators said.

Kudryavtsev and Lezhava have been barred from leaving the country.

Kudryavtsev, 74, is also a member of several schools outside Russia, including the American Institute of Architects.

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