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Ponomaryov Questioned in Skolkovo Case

Just Russia Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov was being questioned Tuesday in connection with an investigation into the alleged misuse of funds by the Skolkovo Foundation.

Ponomaryov was "invited for questioning by 10 a.m. Tuesday as a witness in the Skolkovo embezzlement case," the Investigative Committee said in a statement carried by Interfax.

Earlier, Ponomaryov said he was prepared to cooperate with the inquiry.

At the same time, he said he was determined to prove in court that he had fulfilled all obligations under his contract with Skolkovo.

"I am sure I will be able to prove my rectitude," Ponomaryov said.

On April 18 police searched the Skolkovo Foundation's office in connection with the embezzlement investigation.

The next day the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against the foundation's senior vice president Alexei Beltyukov on charges of embezzling funds.

Beltyukov was accused of illegally paying Ponomaryov $750,000 between February 2011 and February 2012 for a set of lectures in various Russian cities and for research work.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Skolkovo vice president Alexander Chernov said Beltyukov had been suspended from his duties for the duration of the investigation.

He said Beltyukov personally had asked to be relieved from his work duties in a written request.

Chernov called Beltyukov's suspension "a technical procedure," stressing that his request for suspension should be regarded as a voluntary move.

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