Russian police open criminal case against prominent economist Sergey Aleksashenko

20:03, 23 august 2017

Russian police are investigating economist Sergey Aleksashenko for attempting to smuggle cultural valuables — Soviet medals — to the United States, according to the news agency Interfax and the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.

“Aleksashenko was detained at a Moscow airport, and officers confiscated several Soviet medals on his person that are banned for export from Russia,” a source told Interfax.

According to Moskovsky Komsomolets, Aleksashenko was detained at the Domodedovo airport. The economist reportedly said he was taking the medals to the U.S. as part of his personal collection, though he apparently lacked the necessary permit required to leave the country with the valuables. Interfax later reported that police released Aleksashenko, who then boarded a plane for the United States.

The airport incident apparently took place roughly a week ago (though Aleksashenko wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that he left Russia two weeks ago).

Investigators reportedly brought charges against the economist on August 23, after an expert review of the seized medals. In comments to the news agency RBC on Wednesday, Aleksashenko confirmed that he is currently abroad and not in police custody.

Under Russia’s Criminal Code, smuggling cultural valuables carries a maximum punishment of seven years in prison and fines as high as 1 million rubles ($17,000).
Sergey Aleksashenko is a senior fellow in Global Economy and Development. A former deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia and former chairman of Merrill Lynch Russia, he focuses on transition process in CIS and Eastern Europe, monetary policy, and international financial infrastructure. In the mid-1990s, Aleksashenko served as Russia’s deputy finance minister. Since 2013, he has resided in the United States.