A Moscow court has returned theater director Kirill Serebrennikov’s criminal fraud case to prosecutors two years after his high-profile arrest, a move that observers say is a key step toward his case being thrown out.

Serebrennikov was detained in August 2017 on charges of embezzling 68 million rubles ($1 million) in government funds as part of a theater project, damages that later doubled to 133 million rubles. Supporters of the Gogol Center’s artistic director say the charges against him are politically motivated.