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Indictment is faulty, former prosecutor's lawyer insists

June 10, 2013, 18:08 UTC+3

Asnis claimed the investigators had violated the commitment to Poland not to bring more charges against Ignatenko

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MOSCOW, June 10 (Itar-Tass) - The defense of former deputy prosecutor of the Moscow region Alexander Ignatenko is hoping that the Prosecutor General's Office will not endorse the indictment due to serious violations.

"In reading the criminal case materials, the defense found numerous violations of criminal procedural legislation, including the resolution to arraign Ignatenko dated February 20, 2013, about which he and his lawyers were informed on the same day, and a resolution issued on the same date attached to the criminal case with a different content," lawyer Alexander Asnis told Tass on Monday.

This fact alone warrants the return of the case to the Investigative Committee for additional probe.

Asnis claimed the investigators had violated the commitment to Poland not to bring more charges against Ignatenko.

"The appearance of new separate episodes in the criminal case violates the requirements of Article 14 of the European convention on extradition of 1957, as it makes impossible the endorsement of the indictment by the PGO and sending the case to the court," he noted.

He said the defense had reported the exposed violations of Russian and international legislation to the PGO and the Polish justice minister.

"We are hoping the PGO will not ignore these violations and that it will not endorse the indictment," Asnis said.

The case comprises about 50 volumes.

During preliminary investigation, Ignatenko refused to testify or take part in face-to-face interrogations.

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. 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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