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Poland cannot influence Ignatenko's fate after extradition - spokeswoman

March 05, 2013, 18:26 UTC+3

Earlier the appeals board of the Moscow City Court on Tuesday upheld custody extension for Ignatenko till July 1

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WARSAW, March 5 (Itar-Tass) - After the extradition of former deputy Moscow region prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko, Poland has no legal leverage to influence his fate, spokeswoman for the Polish Ministry of Justice Patrycja Loose told Itar-Tass on Tuesday, in comments on the complaint from Ignatenko's lawyers about violations of his rights.

"We received the documents yesterday /March 4/ and will have them translated and analyzed," Loose said, adding that the ministry would decide on further actions next week.

"The difficulty is that since the extradition, Poland has had no legal mechanisms to influence his fate in Russia," she underlined, "we can only send an inquiry to Moscow to ask if the lawyers' statement is correct and express our concern."

Earlier, the defense of the former prosecutor forwarded a complaint to the Polish ministry. "We brought to the attention of /ministry personnel/ the facts that enable us to claim violations of Ignatenko's rights and freedoms, guaranteed by universal principles and norms of international law and international agreements which are binding for Russia and Poland," Ignatenko's lawyer Alexander Asnis said.

The lawyers' complaint asks the Polish justice ministry to draw Russia's attention to the inadmissibility of violations of basic rights and freedoms during preliminary investigation into this criminal case and consider expressing disagreement to Russia with the criminal prosecution of Ignatenko under these circumstances.

Ignatenko was extradited to Russia on February 7, 2013. He denied his guilt, but said he was interested in "ascertaining the truth."

The Investigative Committee accuses the former prosecutor under Article 290, Part 4 of Russia's Criminal Code /taking bribe worth over 33 million roubles by a group/. The criminal case under Article 159 /fraud/ over a land plot was dropped, as it was Poland's condition for extraditing the suspect to Russia.

In February 2011, the Federal Security Service reported that it had exposed an illegal gambling network in 15 towns of the region. It brought an estimated five to ten million dollars a year in revenue. The network had operated for some three years.

At least 21 former law-enforcement officials were suspects.Interpol issued a wanted notice for Ignatenko on charges of fraud and taking 47 million roubles in bribes from suspected masterminds of illegal gambling business. On January 1, 2012, the former prosecutor was detained by Poland’s security agents as he was leaving the Zakopane resort where he had arrived several days before for reunion with his family. He spent a year in a Polish prison awaiting a ruling on his extradition.

In late October, 2012, Poland's justice minister said he had decided to extradite Ignatenko, but that the latter could only be tried on charges of corruption, and that Poland was not extraditing the suspect under the fraud charges.

Under international norms, the extraditing country can impose such restriction if it doubts the correctness of the charges.

Earlier on Tuesday, the appeals board of the Moscow City Court on Tuesday upheld custody extension for Ignatenko till July 1.

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