MOSCOW, June 13 (Itar-Tass) – Prosecutors have requalified charges against sect leader Grigory Grabovoi from fraud to grand fraud, the defendant’s lawyer Anatoly Gromov told Itar-Tass.
Grabovoi is facing a tougher penalty under new charges. “This offense in punishable by five to ten years in prison,” the lawyer noted.
A criminal case against Grabovoi was opened on March 20, 2006. Among those who complained to police about Grabovoi were residents of Beslan, where he had held his seminars and promised to revive children killed in the Beslan hostage-taking raid.
“The case was opened on the strength of the check into numerous complaints and statements to various bodies, including prosecutor’s offices,” the prosecutor’s office of Moscow’s central administrative district said.
Grabovoi is suspected of developing fraudulent schemes and misappropriating the money of persons who trusted him in a pyramid scheme.
He taught people for money and then offered his students to sign contracts committing them to spread his teaching to Russian provinces. The students obliged, organizing seminars in their regions which Grabovoi viewed as branches of his movement.
The interest was commercial: Grabovoi drew a revenue to the tune of 10 percent of the profit gained by regional organizations.
The seminars were mostly attended by grief-stricken persons, who found Grabovoi’s teaching the only opportunity to get answers to the questions plaguing them, including Beslan residents.
According to prosecutors, the price of tuition at seminars — that gathered up to 500 people — was 2,000 roubles per person, while individual studies cost 39,100 roubles.
Grabovoi was detained after one of the seminars at Kosmos Hotel, where attendance usually ranged between 200 and 300.
Grabovoi began his activity from the mid 1990s and initially was building his image in the mass media, to become famous and promote his teaching, prosecutors said.