MOSCOW — A leading economic expert in Russia was arrested on Thursday for embezzlement in a high-profile case that some observers believed was linked to purges targeting members of the country’s liberal elite.
Investigators have accused Vladimir Mau, the rector of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, of embezzling funds from the institution, a top school for civil servants. Mau denied the charges.
Investigators have asked the Tverskoi District Court of Moscow to place Mau under house arrest while their ongoing investigation, while Mau has asked the court to release him on bail.
Since the early 1990s, Mau has been a senior economic adviser to the Russian government. He received high state awards from President Vladimir Putin in 2012 and 2017.
Investigators said the charges were part of a larger embezzlement investigation in which Marina Rakova, a former deputy education minister who worked alongside Mau, testified against him.
Rakova and Sergei Zuyev, the rector of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, a leading non-state Russian university, have also been charged with embezzlement. Zuyev denied them.
Kremlin critics described the arrests as part of a growing government crackdown on independent voices amid military action in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Mau’s detention.