Former Putin-aligned academic released from house arrest despite pending fraud charges
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Former Putin-aligned academic released from house arrest despite pending fraud charges

Vladimir Mau, a former ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was released from house arrest Wednesday while he awaits the outcome of two fraud charges. Mau is a well-known economist who has previously spoken in support of Putin, including arguing for the invasion of Ukraine. The fraud charges are related to his time as the rector of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), a state run higher education organization. Mau has promised not to leave Russia as a condition of his release.

According to Russian State News Agency TASS, Mau is facing two charges of fraud, with a third being investigated under part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Mau was charged with stealing 21 million rubles and could also be charged for stealing another 20 million rubles.

The pending charge pertains to a case involving former Deputy Minister of Education Marina Rakova. She has been charged with fraud for embezzling money from the Fund for New Forms of Education Development. Along with Rakova and Mau, Yevgeny Zak, Maxim Inkin, Kristina Kryuchkova and Rakova’s common-law husband Artur Stetsenko have also been charged in the plot. The group allegedly laundered money through the Teacher of the Year project and RANEPA, hiring fictitious employees to collect salaries.

Mau was previously put on house arrest until August 7th, due to concerns that he might flee. In a statement to TASS, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow lifted the house arrest, announcing:

On August 3, 2022, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow received an application from the investigator of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the city of Moscow to leave without consideration a petition for an extension of house arrest against Mau V.A. in connection with a change in his measure of restraint to a written undertaking not to leave and proper conduct.

Mau’s first court appearance is scheduled for August 5th.

The Kremlin has yet to comment on the charges. Opposition leaders have raised concerns this may be the beginning of a large scale academic crackdown.