MOSCOW, July 26 (RIA Novosti) – Viktor Baturin, the brother-in-law of former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, was found guilty of fraud by a Moscow court Friday and sentenced to seven years in prison with a fine of 700,000 rubles ($20,000), the RAPSI legal news agency reported.
Judge Oksana Sharova said Baturin was guilty of attempting to cash a fraudulent promissory note worth 10.8 million rubles ($330,000) at Inteco, the property construction giant formerly owned by his sister: Russia’s richest woman and Luzhkov’s wife, Yelena Baturina. He was also found guilty of another attempted fraud involving Inteco valued at 5.6 billion rubles ($170 million), according to RAPSI.
Detained in November 2011, Baturin maintained his innocence throughout the trial. He has said the alleged frauds were the result of a misunderstanding caused by an argument with his sister, whom he has repeatedly accused of owing him $500 million.
Baturin, who set up Inteco with his sister in 1991, was employed at the company until 2005. He said Friday that he would appeal the verdict, RAPSI reported.
Prosecutors requested an eight-year prison sentence and a 300,000 ruble ($9,000) fine for Baturin, whose conviction Friday was his second for fraud. In 2011, Baturin was given a three-year suspended sentence by a Moscow court for real estate fraud.
Luzhkov and Baturina have maintained their distance from Baturin, whom Luzhkov has characterized as mentally ill and a tool of his political enemies. “Despite the fact that Baturin is my wife’s brother, he does not have any relationship with our family or her business,” Luzhkov said in 2011, online newspaper Gazeta.ru reported.