Boris Mazo stayed in Vienna

A former official of the Ministry of Culture, not extradited to Spain, was requested to Moscow.
As Kommersant learned, the Vienna Regional Court refused to extradite Boris Mazo, the former director of the Property Management and Investment Policy Department of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, accused of embezzlement during the construction of Hermitage facilities and the laundering of these funds. However, the ex-official cannot leave Austria, since Russia has now demanded his extradition.

Vienna's Criminal Court of Vienna refused to satisfy the Spanish authorities' demand for the extradition of Boris Maso, who was on the international wanted list. The Austrian judicial authorities motivated their refusal by the fact that Spain provided them with "insufficient and inconclusive" evidence of Mr Maso's involvement in the laundering of the kidnapped. So, in a request for extradition, the Spaniards indicated that the luxurious villa in Marbella was acquired by Mr. Maso's family in 2017 for € 4 million, linking its acquisition with theft in Russia. However, it turned out in the Vienna Regional Court that Mr. Maso bought the ill-fated house from one of the local entrepreneurs in 2015, that is, before concluding a contract for the construction and reconstruction of the Hermitage. According to the ICR, in this transaction, the former deputy minister of culture Grigory Pirumov, businessman Nikita Kolesnikov, Mr. Mazo and other persons involved in the criminal case of fraud and the organization of a criminal community (Article 159 and Article 210 of the Criminal Code) could have stolen more than 900 million rubles.

According to documents submitted by the Austrian lawyers of Mr. Maso to the court, the house was purchased with borrowed funds received by the company of the ex-official’s family from the firm of his business partner, and the property was valued at € 2 million.

Boris Maso was detained by Austrian police on November 7. The basis for this was a criminal case on money laundering, initiated in the spring of this year by the police department to combat economic and tax crimes in Spain. The latter searched the house of Mr. Maso. His Russian lawyer, Vladislav Musiyaka, citing Spanish defenders, told Kommersant that they had the impression that the police were looking for large sums of money in the house. They came to the search with dogs, a metal detector and rock drills. The dogs, according to the lawyer, did not find anything, but with the help of a metal detector the police found three safes in the house, which turned out to be empty. After interrogation at the police station about how the house was bought in Marbella, the wife of Mr. Maso Lil and his son Alex were released home.

According to the press secretary of the Vienna Regional Court Christina Salzborn, Boris Maso should be returned a security deposit of € 25 thousand, under which he was released. Nevertheless, the accused is forbidden to leave Austria, since the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia has now asked her authorities to extradite Mr. Maso.

According to the lawyer Musiyaki, it is not clear to him why his client was put on the international wanted list because he left Russia more than six months before the criminal case was opened. Mr. Mazo himself informed the TFR the address where he then lived in Spain.