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Russia's Attorney General posts major embezzlement case sentence before court announcement

On Monday, before Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court actually rendered its sentence, Russia’s Attorney General announced that Viktor Zakharchenko, the father of former Interior Minister Dmitry Zakharchenko, had been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzlement. The newspaper Novaya Gazeta noticed the agency’s statement, which soon disappeared. Not only was the Attorney General’s announcement early, but it was also inaccurate: the Meshchansky District Court later sentenced Zakharchenko Senior to four years in prison and fined him 800,000 rubles ($12,390).

Speaking to the newspaper Vedomosti, representatives from the Attorney General’s Office attributed the press release about the Zakharchenko verdict to a technical error.

Viktor Zakharchenko was found guilty of embezzling 4.5 million rubles (almost $70,000) from the “Moscow Mortgage Agency” bank. Police arrested Zakharchenko in April 2017, a few months after the arrest of his son, Dmitry, the now former deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s economic crimes and anti-corruption department. Dmitry Zakharchenko is charged with obstruction of justice, abusing his authority, and accepting massive bribes. In December 2017, officials confiscated his property, valued at 9 billion rubles ($139.4 million).

The former chairman of the Moscow Mortgage Agency, Vladimir Korevkin, was convicted of embezzling 1.7 million rubles ($26,325) and sentenced to six years in prison. Both men maintain their innocence.

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