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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hermitage Thief Could Get 6 Years

Itar-TassNikolai Zavadsky entering the St. Petersburg district courtroom on Tuesday.
Prosecutors on Tuesday called for a six-year prison term for Nikolai Zavadsky, who is currently standing trial for stealing 77 objects from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Interfax reported.

The stolen items are valued at 14.8 million rubles (nearly $560,000).

The state asked the Dzerzhinsky District Court to find Zavadsky guilty of theft carried out by an organized group and to sentence him to six years in a "general regime" prison colony.

Although charged with theft carried out by an organized group, Zavadsky is the only defendant standing trial in the case, which shocked the cultural establishment when it became public last summer and led to calls for an overhaul of state-owned museums.

Prosecutors maintain that Zavadsky and his late wife, Larisa, a Hermitage curator, conspired to steal the art objects over several years. Larisa Zavadskaya died suddenly at the start of an inventory that revealed the missing objects.

In his final statement to the court, Zavadsky asked to be allowed to work in order to pay off his debt to the Hermitage.