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Poland extends arrest of former Russian prosecutor by 4 months

June 06, 2012, 13:05 UTC+3
The court may repeatedly extend administrative arrest for two years, if no decision on extradition is taken within this timeframe
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WARSAW, June 6 (Itar-Tass) — Former first deputy prosecutor of the Moscow region Alexander Ignatenko, wanted by the Interpol and detained in southern Poland on January 1 will stay in the republic for four more months, the district court in the town of Nowy Sacz ruled on Tuesday.

"The court extended Ignatenko's temporary arrest to October 9," the court's spokesman Bogdan Kijak told Itar-Tass. The detainee did not attend the hearing, Kijak said.

"Explaining its decision, the court expressed the concern that in case no preventive measures such as temporary arrest is applied, the detainee might leave Poland and escape from the investigative bodies of the state which is seeking his extradition," a court official said.

The court may repeatedly extend administrative arrest for two years, if no decision on extradition is taken within this timeframe.

Earlier reports said the Polish justice minister is to make the final decision on Ignatenko's extradition. The ministry planned to complete the case in early May, but after consultations with representatives of the Helsinki foundation for human rights, it demanded that the Russian Investigative Committee give its written guarantees that in case of extradition, the detainee would be safe and that his trial would run in accordance with international standards.

"We haven't received an answer yet, so we've suspended the decision-making process. As soon as we receive the letter, we'll analyze its content," said Michael Krulikowski, who is in charge of the Justice Ministry's international contacts and handles the Ignatenko extradition issue.

Former first deputy prosecutor of the Moscow region Alexander Ignatenko, 52, is a suspect in the case over covering up illegal gambling business in the Moscow region. The investigators said he had taken 47 million roubles of bribes.

Ignatenko was detained by Poland's domestic security agents as he was leaving Zakopane on January 1. He had arrived at the town for reunion with his family.

Four court hearings of Ignatenko's case were held in Poland. The last one at the Krakow appeals court on March 7 ended in a verdict under which Ignatenko might be extradited to Russia. The verdict cannot be appealed against.

In early 2011, Russia's Federal Security Service reported that an illegal gambling ring had been exposed in the Moscow region, and named first deputy regional prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko among the suspects. The FSB said it had encountered active resistance at the initial stage of the probe, on the part of supervisory bodies and police.

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