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Former Executive at Russian Innovations Hub Skolkovo Arrested in Absentia

Alexei Beltyukov Maxim Stulov / Vedomosti

A Russian court ordered the arrest of a former Skolkovo Foundation top executive Monday on embezzlement charges, according to the Interfax news agency, part of an ongoing corruption case that has tarnished the reputation of the innovation center set up by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The foundation's former vice president Alexei Beltyukov, who is reportedly in the United States, was arrested in absentia by Moscow's Basmanny District Court, according to Interfax.

His arrest follows that of opposition State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, who was also arrested in absentia earlier this month as part of the same case. Ponomaryov, who played a prominent role in the anti-Kremlin demonstrations that swept through Moscow in 2011-12, has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Investigators allege that Beltyukov colluded with Ponomaryov in 2010 to embezzle $750,000 from the foundation.

If found guilty, Beltyukov faces up to 10 years in jail.

A criminal investigation has been under way into the case since 2013.

Beltyukov's lawyers said Monday that their client was a victim of Ponomaryov and not an accomplice, the TASS news agency reported.

Beltyukov moved to the United States in January, TASS reported Monday, citing his lawyer. Ponomaryov is also currently based in the United States, according to news reports.

The Skolkovo Foundation, which promotes innovation and scientific research, was set up in 2010 and retains senior officials among its executives. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is the chairman of the board of trustees.

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