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Former minister charged with fraud and organized criminal activity kept under arrest amid support from public figures

Source: Meduza

Moscow’s Basmanny Court has ordered former Open Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov to be kept under arrest until May 25. Abyzov has been charged with large-scale fraud and organizing a criminal organization. He led the Open Government project, an initiative intended to provide oversight over the actions of Russia’s executive branch, from 2012 to 2018.

The prosecution argued that Abyzov should be held under guard to prevent him from going into hiding. One of his alleged accomplices has apparently done just that. Abyzov’s attorneys attempted to prevent their client from being held in a pretrial detention center during his arrest. A number of noted Russian public figures offered to put up bail for Abyzov, RBC reported. They included nonprofit organizer Nyuta Federmesser, nanotech joint-stock company head Anatoly Chubais, his predecessor Leonid Melamed, and multiple former public officials who occupied visible positions in Russia’s executive branch.

Abyzov has denied the charges against him and offered to cooperate with investigators in order to demonstrate his innocence.