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Russian tycoon granted asylum in Montenegro as Zurich closes his money laundering case

According to Telman Ismailov’s lawyer Marina Rusakova, this factor was decisive in her client’s release from extradition detention

MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. Businessman Telman Ismailov, who is accused of murders and abductions in Russia, has been granted political asylum in Montenegro, since the Zurich prosecutors’ office dropped the money laundering proceedings against him, Marina Rusakova, Ismailov’s lawyer, told TASS on Saturday adding that this factor was decisive in her client’s release from extradition detention.

"One of the main documents that played a decisive role in granting political asylum to Telman [Ismailov] came from the Zurich attorney’s office, which closed the criminal case of money laundering against the businessman on January 5, 2021. That case was closed in Switzerland and Ismailov was paid over 15,000 Swiss francs in compensation. That ruling of the Zurich attorney’s office said that the information provided by the Russian side to prove Telman’s guilt was untrue," she said.

"I believe that this judgement submitted to the Montenegrin court played a conclusive role," she added.

According to the document of the Zurich authority, made available to TASS, in September 2017, the BM Bank asked the Swiss prosecutors’ office to initiate criminal proceedings against Telman Ismailov on money laundering charges. On December 18, 2018, the case was opened and closed on January 5, 2021, the documents said.

"Thus, his accounts and the flow of funds belonging to Ismailov and his close relatives had been totally looked into for more than three years," Rusakova said.

The Zurich attorney’s office ruled that the criminal case should be closed as the Russian bank had provided misleading information, in particular related to Ismailov’s conviction in a number of criminal cases, as well as his involvement in money laundering and two murders.

Ismailov was detained in Montenegro on October 1 and arrested by a court in Podgorica. Russia’s Investigative Committee put him on the international wanted list in 2017. In Russia, Ismailov was charged in absentia with murder, arms trafficking and the abduction of singer Avraam Russo.

According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, Ismailov was part of a group behind the murder of businessmen Vladimir Savkin and Yuri Brylev in May 2016.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office told TASS earlier that it had sent a request to Montenegro for the extradition of Ismailov who is charged with murder. His Russian lawyer Marina Rusakova told TASS back then that he denied his guilt and would seek political asylum in Montenegro.