Vadim Ampelonsky is off the hook. On December 5, police dropped embezzlement charges against the spokesman for Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal censor. In October 2017, he and two colleagues were placed under house arrest on charges of large-scale fraud. Investigators later reclassified the charges to embezzlement (lowering the damages caused from 23 million rubles to six million rubles — almost $90,000), but he still faced up to 10 years in prison. In May 2018, a Moscow district court also seized Ampelonsky's property.
Ampelonsky and his accomplices were suspected of billing the government for work by fictitious staff between 2012 and 2017 and keeping the wages for themselves. According to Ampelonsky’s lawyer, police are also dropping the charges against several other suspects, though he didn’t say against whom. Eighteen people have been named in the case, including Roskomnadzor’s former legal department head, Boris Edidin, “Main Radio Frequency Center” federal unitary enterprise CEO Anastasia Zvyzgintseva, and Zvyzgintseva’s former adviser, Akexander Veselchakov.