Nikolay Glushkov, former Deputy Director-General of Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo), has been convicted in absentia on charges of embezzlement, fined RUB1 million (USD17,000) and sentenced to eight years in prison, reports Kommersant. The charges relate to events which occurred in the late 1990s in conjunction with oligarch and former Aeroflot owner Boris Berezovsky.

Glushkov and Berezovsky were both accused of channelling USD252 million of funds away from Aeroflot and into a Swiss company, Andava, of which they were major shareholders. The men claimed that they did so in a bid to cleanse Aeroflot of Russian spies, saying that 3,000 of its 14,000 employees worked for Russia's intelligence agencies. Berezovsky was found guilty in 2007 of embezzlement and sentenced to six years in prison. By that time, he had become a political refugee in the United Kingdom, where he died in 2013.

In announcing its decision last week, Moscow’s Savelovsky District Court also granted a lawsuit from Aeroflot to pursue Glushkov for the recovery of the embezzled monies.

Glushkov has not yet responded from the United Kingdom, where he has been living since being granted asylum in 2010. He has previously called the criminal proceedings against him a 'farce' in which he has no interest. However, the criminal conviction against him may help Aeroflot to pursue its civil claim in London's High Court.