Aeroflot top executive arrested on suspicion of fraud

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A senior executive at Russia’s Aeroflot has been arrested on suspicion of major fraud.  

On June 15, 2022, Mikhail Minayev, director of Aeroflot’s fleet planning and aircraft procurement, was placed under arrest by Moscow’s Khoroshevsky court, Russian news agency TASS reported, citing court documents.  

“Mikhail Minaev has been charged as a defendant within the framework of investigative actions carried out by authorized bodies. On the merits of the matter, the airline has no right to disclose information,” Aeroflot’s press department confirmed to Interfax. 

Minaev has already appealed the court’s decision. 

The court has not disclosed any further details regarding the ongoing article, but Minaev, who oversaw aircraft purchases for Russia’s flagship airline, will remain in the custody until August 8, 2022.  

If found guilty, Minaev could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to a million rubles ($17,637). 

Earlier in May 2022, the Khoroshevsky court arrested Andrey Panov, another senior member of Aeroflot’s management team. At the time, the former deputy CEO was accused of being involved in a similar major fraud case.  

In April 2022, just before the arrest, agents from the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia raided the Aeroflot office in Moscow and seized hard drives and documents belonging to the marketing and strategy department.  

The raid took place after Panov published an opinion column about Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine in the Financial Times, where it called on his former colleagues who currently stay in Russia to “sabotage the war effort”. 

“I want to tell every colleague — those with whom I worked, built projects, or negotiated deals, every senior Russian business person: I know why you are afraid to speak out against the war,” Andrei Panov wrote in a statement published by the Financial Times. “I was the same when I was still in Moscow. I know it is impossible to be a top executive and oppose the political regime, and I am not calling for martyrs or political prisoners. But you can retire, you can leave, and even if neither of these is possible, there are still things you can do,” Panov said.  

“You can sabotage the war effort, by delaying or ignoring every deal or contract which supports the military invasion or Russian propaganda. You can educate your subordinates and make clear to them you are against the war. You can ignore Z parades and refuse to send your staff to participate in them, and you can shout loudly about the economic disaster which grows with each new week of conflict,” he continued.  

Immediately after the raid, local police questioned employees working in Aeroflot’s marketing and strategy department.  

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