Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the Emir of Kuwait, Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to release the Russian citizen Maria Lazareva, who has been convicted of embezzling $60 million from Kuwait government funds, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reports, citing an anonymous source.
The article claims that Putin made his request while talking to Sabah IV when he congratulated him on his 90th birthday. Putin reportedly asked the emir to take personal control of the case and to help the Russian lady to return home as soon as possible.
The Kremlin has made no official report on the matter.
According to a report by Radio Liberty, in May 2018 Lazareva was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for embezzling from the state port administration. The court ordered her to pay a $72.8 million fine and to return $36.4 million to the fund. Lazereva pleaded innocent.
Before being arrested, Lazareva was the executive director of Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company. Her attorneys are demanding her immediate release and $100 million in compensation.
In June, the Russian woman was let out on bail. Her father told the Russian news agency RBC that her prosecution is related to a business conflict for the right to service the Pentagon military base in Kuwait. In January 2018, Lazareva’s company won a $1.38 billion tender to provide food and logistical services to the base, the Kuwait Times reported.