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French court sustains Russia’s request for extradition of runaway corrupt official

October 18, 2014, 3:43 UTC+3 PARIS
The presiding judge, Luke Fontaine, agreed with the Lyon prosecutor’s office, which a month earlier upheld Russia’s request for the extradition of Aleksey Kuznetsov
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Aleksey Kuznetsov

Aleksey Kuznetsov

©  ITAR-TASS, file

PARIS, October 18. /TASS/. A court of appeal in Lyon has sustained Russia’s request for the extradition of the Moscow Region’s former finance minister, Aleksey Kuznetsov. The decision was made on Friday evening, France Presse reports.

The presiding judge, Luke Fontaine, agreed with the Lyon prosecutor’s office, which a month earlier upheld Russia’s request for the extradition of Kuznetsov, who is suspected of gross financial fraud. The judge thereby dismissed the defence’s arguments Kuznetsov in Russia would face political persecution.

At the same time the permission to his extradition from France was issued with a number of reservations. For instance, court sources say the Russian authorities will be unable to punish Kuznetsov with correctional labour. Also, he must be entitled to regular contacts with the French authorities.

Kuznetsov held the post of the Moscow Region’s finance minister in 2000 through 2008. In 2004 through 2008 he was also first deputy prime minister of the Moscow Region’s government. He was detained in Saint-Tropez, Cote d’Azur, France, on the basis of a Russian warrant. The runaway official has been on Interpol’s wanted list since November 2012. In Russia he is suspected of defrauding the housing and utilities sector of the Moscow Region of 3.5 billion roubles (roughly 88 million US dollars).

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