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A Moscow scandal surrounding ‘VIP prison cells’ gets more scandalous

A lawyer for convicted fraudster Dionisii Zolotov is firing back at allegations that his client broke the law by financing upgrades to the “Matrosskaya Tishina” Moscow penitentiary.

In December 2017, the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets published a story about “luxury prison cells” for wealthy inmates. Zolotov’s lawyer says the penitentiary welcomed his client’s funding to remodel 20 prison cells and build a second checkpoint “about which investigators and lawyers had long dreamed.”

In December 2017, police arrested Public Monitoring Commission member Denis Nabiullin on charges of trying to extort $500,000 to help free convicted banker Ildar Klebleyev. Nabiullin says his arrest was orchestrated by Zolotov, while Zolotov’s lawyer says the “VIP prison cells” scandal is Nabiullin’s doing, pointing out that the Moskovsky Komsomolets story was written by Eva Merkacheva, one of Nabiullin’s commission colleagues.

Matrosskaya Tishina’s deputy director was fired following the results of an investigation, and three subordinates have been subjected to “serious disciplinary measures.” Local prosecutors are also calling for a criminal investigation.