(source: la-croix.com; Hat tip A.A.) Bp Varnava returned petitioned ROCOR-L (Now ROCOR-MP) in 2006. This, therefore comes as no surprise something else was afoot.
Grasse (Alpes-Maritimes), November 26, 2010 (AFP) – Six-month suspended sentence for the former bishop of the Russian church in Cannes
The Criminal Court sentenced Friday Grasse a former bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church from Cannes to six months suspended sentence for hijacking in 2006 of 405,000 euros in donations for the association he presided.
Accused of embezzlement, Vladimir Prokofieff, 65, had argued during the hearing on October 20 that these donations are supposed to be used to refurbish the church, were in transit on its behalf personal bank and he planned to make money and not take ownership.
A monk Sergei Berantchikov, carer’s former bishop, who was prosecuted for receiving stolen goods, was sentenced for his part in three-month suspended sentence.
The 405,000 euros will be returned to the religious association of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, the court decided.
This sum, which came from bank accounts domiciled in the Cayman Islands, had initially been paid into an account of the association. Vladimir Prokofieff had then transits to his account before attempting to pay them by international transfer to the account of an Israeli donor, Leonid Bilunov, who owns a villa on the Riviera, “extremely troubled past” , according to Deputy Attorney Gwen Ledoigt.
The transfer was stopped by the prosecutor of Grasse, hearing the case after a complaint from members of the association concerned about the provenance of these donations. The prosecutor suspected money laundering operation, but the fraudulent origin of the money could not be established.
The complaint had occurred while the association had known for several months of turmoil, some of its members, many of them descendants of “White Russians” not adhering to the policy of reconciliation with Moscow advocated by Mr. Prokofieff.