MOSCOW, February 14 (Itar-Tass) — A majority of the 19 people wanted by Interpol within the YUKOS case are in Britain, which has not extradited them, an Interpol official told Itar-Tass.
"As for the YUKOS case, Russia asked Interpol to issue wanted notices for 19 people who were directly involved in criminal schemes. A majority of the suspects are in Great Britain," Interpol Russia director Alexander Prokopchuk said in an interview to Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
Prokopchuk noted that Great Britain has not extradited a single YUKOS suspect up to date. "They will remain on the international wanted list until the issue has been settled," he said.
"During the entire history of cooperation between Russian and British law-enforcement bodies, Great Britain granted Russia's extradition request only once. But it never happened because the person in question has been granted bail and escaped without waiting for the extradition," Prokopchuk said.
At the same time, he acknowledged that British colleagues work conscientiously on establishing the whereabouts of the suspects. "The decision on extradition is not within the competence of police in general and Interpol in particular. This issue is the prerogative of the judicial bodies. This procedure might stretch over a lengthy period, and the person has time to ask the authorities for the political asylum or find other reasons enabling him to avoid extradition," he said noting that the notification denying extradition requests do not normally explain the reasons.
According to Prokopchuk, the persons accused of economic crimes, are more successful in finding the reasons to obstruct or delay the review of extradition requests. "Great Britain is among the countries where wanted criminals often succeed in getting political asylum," the Interpol official said.