Russian police: $3M in state funds embezzled during Bolshoi Theater refurbishment

MOSCOW – Russian police have launched a criminal investigation into the embezzlement of 90 million rubles (about $3 million) of state funds during the refurbishment of Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Theater.

Interior Ministry officials said Thursday a contractor, PO Teplotekhnik, received the money for work on the theatre’s electrical system despite not fulfilling its contract, Russian news agencies reported. The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

A symbol of national pride for centuries, the Bolshoi reopened in 2011 after a $1 billion renovation. Despite the lavish sums, much of the work was of poor quality, with cracks appearing in the walls and gold leaf crumbling away.

The theatre has been shrouded in scandal since an assailant threw acid into the face of artistic director Sergei Filin in January.