Russia 'closely following' case of citizen on trial in Kuwait

Marsha Lazareva was jailed for over 470 days on charges of embezzlement
Russia 'closely following' case of citizen on trial in Kuwait
By Lubna Hamdan
Sun 16 Jun 2019 01:05 PM

Russia is closely following the case of its citizen Marsha Lazareva, who was jailed in Kuwait for over 470 days on charges of embezzlement before being released on bail last week, according to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

“Russia's MFA will continue to closely follow the situation around Maria Lazareva and efforts to provide a thorough and objective investigation of her case, as well as respect of the legitimate rights and interests of the Russia citizen, including rights to judicial protection and qualified medical care,” it told Arabian Business in a statement.

An unnamed Kuwaiti supporter paid Lazareva’s KD1 million ($3.29 million) bail, which was in addition to 11 million Kuwait dinars previously paid by the businesswoman and her supporters.

The employee of KGL Investment Company in Kuwait was initially arrested in November 2017 and sentenced to ten years hard labour imprisonment. She was then ordered to pay a fine of 22 million Kuwait dinar ($72 million) in May last year after being found guilty of charges of embezzlement.

However, the conviction was successfully appealed on May 5, 2019 after it was proven that the documents used as evidence against her were forgeries. It was discovered that the fund of nearly half a billion dollars which she was accused of embezzling was frozen in a Dubai bank.

Lazareva’s case has drawn support from a number of high profile British, American and Russian supports, including Neil Bush, son of former American President George H.W. Bush and barrister Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Tatyana Yumasheva, the daughter of the late former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Blair’s legal group, Omnia Strategy, is a part of the global team representing Lazareva. It had filed a petition of complaint with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) in May this year, requesting an investigation into the detention and treatment of the Russian citizen and mother of a four year-old son born in the United States.

Lazareva’s case has also drawn international concern over the treatment of foreign investors in Kuwait, with Lazareva herself having filed a separate investment arbitration complaint against the Gulf country in connection with her imprisonment.

It comes as Kuwait took over the month-long presidency of the UN Security Council in June.

The next hearing in Lazareva’s case will be on June 23.

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