Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov of Moscow's Gogol Centre has received a three-year suspended sentence.
The judge said the director and co-defendants Yury Itin and Konstantin Malobrodsky had "carried out actions directed at personal enrichment" and misled staff at the culture ministry. The story is about misappropriating £1.5m ($1.86m) of state funds for a theater project, a modern-art project named Platforma, which ran between 2011 and 2014. "I do not know anything about the misuse of funds," Serebrennikov told the court. He told the judge on Wednesday that he was "an honest person" The director was working on a film about the singer when he was arrested.
Crowd sustaining Serebrennikov
The Russian government said the verdict would serve as a warning against corruption in the arts. Serebrennikov was placed on probation for three years, fined, and banned from overseeing a cultural organization. Contracts were signed for non-existent services. The prosecution had asked for a six-year prison sentence, but Serebrennikov received a three-year suspended term. Under the conditions of his house arrest, the director will be barred until 19 October from using his phone or communicating with anyone without investigators' permission. His detention was seen by many as politically motivated. A petition gathered more than 50,000 signatures urging Russian officials to drop the accusations.