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Court Orders Russian Singer's Parents to Return Unspent Charity Donations

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A Moscow court has ordered the parents of deceased Russian singer Jeanna Friske to return 21.6 million rubles ($379,000) to the Russian Help Foundation, after ruling that they have failed to spend money collected ahead of Friske’s death from brain cancer in June 2015.

Friske’s parents have denied the charges, saying that their accountant is preparing a full financial disclosure.

Friske’s mother, Olga, did not attend Friday’s hearing. Dmitry Shepelev, the singer’s former spouse, told the court that Olga Friske might still have a large amount of the money collected in 2015.

The Russian Help Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Friske family after police refused to launch a criminal investigation for theft. The organization says it collected 26 million rubles ($456,000) for Jeanna Friske. Since receiving the money, however, her family has only reported 4 million rubles ($70,000) in charity spending.

Before Friske died, the television network Pervyi Kanal organized a fundraiser to collect money for her medical treatment. In four days, Russians donated more than 60 million rubles ($1 million) through various channels. Before Friske died, she and Shepelev said they planned to use the money to start a charity for cancer patients.

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