Russian State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, who is suspected by Russian law enforcement agencies of complicity in an attempt to embezzle the Skolkovo innovation fund's money, says he is not planning to ask for political asylum abroad.
"Colleagues, don't hurry to claim that I am not going to return to Russia. I haven't said this to anyone," Ponomaryov, who is currently abroad, said on Facebook.
"Definitely, I am not going to make life easier for our Cheka men [security services] and voluntarily put my neck in the noose, but there aren't going to be any political asylums or whatever," he said.
Ponomaryov, who is currently staying in the U.S., said all of his bank accounts and assets in Russia have been frozen, and his wages are being seized toward settling his debts.
"The Federal Court Bailiff Service has also frozen all of my accounts and assets. I don't have an apartment where I can come. The rented apartment has been taken away due to my inability to pay for it. I haven't received my wages since August. My card has been frozen, and bailiffs are taking my wages from it toward the debt's settlement. Therefore, the debt should have been settled in May," Ponomaryov said to the Russian News Service.
He said he wants to come back to Russia.
"I will be glad to return, I am a Russian citizen and a Russian lawmaker, I want to be in my country and in my city, Novosibirsk, from where I have been elected," he said.
Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee reported about the new suspected in the so-called "Skolkovo case". Alexei Beltyukov, top manager of the Skolkovo foundation, is suspected of abetting the illegal receipt by parliamentarian Ilya Ponomaryov of $450,000, Vladimir Markin, an official with the Investigative Committee, said.
"According to the Investigative Committee, the Skolkovo foundation in 2010 signed a contract with Ponomaryov for the fulfillment of research work, which was worth $750,000. Under that contract, Ponomaryov was to do the work in several stages, including make appropriate analytical reports and obtain reviews from international scientific organizations," Markin told Interfax on Thursday
Markin said Beltyukov later "signed an additional agreement with Ponomaryov, apparently to prevent supervision of the research work, which reduced the value of the contract and virtually abolished the system of stage-by-stage reports."
"Thus, the investigators believe they created conditions for stealing the Skolkovo funds in Ponomaryov's favor. To legalize the payment of the $450,000, Beltyukov made two reports, which he presented as research work and which had absolutely no scientific value and did not meet the requirements of the technical assignment, and included them in the documents on the spending of the funds," Markin said.
He recalled that Beltyukov is currently charged with embezzlement.
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