The head of one of Russia’s leading universities for civil servants was released from house arrest Wednesday in exchange for staying in the country during the course of a high-profile fraud investigation.
Vladimir Mau, 62, was detained in late June in connection with a 21-million-ruble ($350,000) fraud investigation targeting a former senior education official. Mau, a prominent economist and head of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), is seen as well-connected to high-level government officials. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Mau was ordered not to leave Russia instead of being placed under house arrest, according to the Moscow Tverskoy District Court statement provided to the RBC news website.
Mau is implicated in a criminal case that was opened last year against former deputy education minister Marina Rakova, who is accused of misappropriating funds for a state educational program.
Critics view the case as the Kremlin’s encroachment on the Russian academic industry amid increasingly lessening academic freedoms. May’s arrest sent shockwaves across Russia’s academic circles despite him signing an open letter in support of President Vladimir Putin’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Rakova was detained in October 2021, the same month that Sergei Zuyev, head of the prestigious Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences — known as Shaninka — was also accused of fraud.
Zuyev, 68, has pleaded guilty to the fraud charges, paid damages and incriminated others, investigators told the Tverskoy District Court on Wednesday, according to news agencies.
A Moscow court ordered Zuyev to be released from pre-trial detention and put under house arrest until Oct. 11, Interfax reported later that day.