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MOSCOW, April 3 (Itar-Tass) – Moscow's Presnya court on Wednesday sanctioned the arrest in absentia of well-known lawyer Boris Kuznetsov, wanted in the case over divulging a state secret in 2006.
Kuznetsov's defense said he was not hiding from the investigators, that he had been living in the USA and had been given political asylum in that country.
Criminal proceedings against Kuznetsov were initiated in July 2007. They are based on the episode related to the case of former Federation Council member from Kalmykia Levon Chakhmakhchyan, a client of Kuznetsov.
The investigators said Kuznetsov had photographed a certificate marked "confidential," which had been issued by the Federal Security Service. The certificate concerned the tapping of Chakhmakhchyan's telephone conversations. Kuznetsov showed the photo to the Constitutional Court where it was available to personnel who had no access to sensitive information. Without waiting for charges against him, the lawyer fled to the United States which granted political asylum to him.
In May, the investigator lodged a petition asking the court to sanction the arrest of Kuznetsov in absentia, but the court turned it down saying the investigators had not made enough efforts to find the suspect.
Boris Kuznetsov served in criminal police in 1962 through 1982, and took part in investigations into high-profile criminal cases. In 1990, he founded the Boris Kuznetsov and Partners law office. He became well-known as he represented the interests of former KGB General Oleg Kalugin, Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko, the Russian community of Sevastopol and the injured parties in the case over the sinking of the Kursk submarine.