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Investigator refuses to drop criminal case against former Moscow region prosecutor

May 23, 2013, 2:33 UTC+3

The former prosecutor was extradited to Russia from Poland on February 7, 2013

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MOSCOW, May 23 (Itar-Tass) - The investigator refused to drop the criminal case against former first deputy prosecutor general of the Moscow region Alexander Ignatenko, his lawyer Alexander Asnis told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"The investigator refused to meet our petition to drop criminal prosecution of Ignatenko and now the case materials are at the Prosecutor General’s Office which is to endorse the indictment," Asnis said.

The lawyer said he had appealed the investigator's refusal as illegitimate and unsubstantiated. Asnis said he was confident that the investigator had no evidence of Ignatenko's involvement in the crime he was accused of.

Ignatenko is accused of taking large bribes worth over 33 million roubles. He denied wrongdoing insisting that he was "interested in ascertaining the truth in the case".

The former prosecutor was extradited to Russia from Poland on February 7, 2013.

The Investigative Committee accuses him under Article 290, Part 4 of Russia's Criminal Code /taking bribe worth over 33 million roubles by a group/. The criminal case over land fraud under Article 159 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 12 former law-enforcement officials were suspects. Charges of bribe-taking were brought against former director of supervisory department of the regional prosecutor's office Dmitry Urumov.

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. The latter could only be tried on charges of corruption; Poland was not extraditing the suspect under the fraud charges, the minister said.

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

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