A Moscow court on Tuesday arrested the former financial director of state-run technology firm Rusnano on suspicion of embezzling 220 million rubles ($3.8 million) from the company in partnership with its former director, who is already under house arrest, news agency RBC reported.
Former Rusnano chief Leonid Melamed was placed under house arrest last week as part of an investigation into large-scale embezzlement at Rusnano, one of Russia's flagship innovation projects.
Investigators said Melamed, along with two other top employees, embezzled over 220 million rubles ($3.8 million) in 2007-09 from Rosnanotech, the predecessor to Rusnano. The funds were allegedly siphoned off under the guise of payments to a consulting company owned by Melamed.
Now former Rusnano financial director Svyatoslav Ponurov has been arrested in the ongoing investigation. He traveled from Finland to Moscow to appear in court on Tuesday and was arrested after a hearing that lasted less than 30 minutes, RBC reported.
Analysts polled by The Moscow Times last week said the attack on former Rusnano managers was directed against the company's current head Anatoly Chubais. Chubais is viewed as the force behind a privatization scheme in the 1990s that, in the eyes of many Russians, placed the most valuable Soviet assets in the hands of a few disproportionately wealthy oligarchs.
In 2008 Chubais succeeded Melamed, his longtime ally, as head of Rusnano. The company last week defended Melamed in a statement, saying: "by the time of the [consulting] tender, Melamed was no longer working at Rosnanotech."