Russia to seek ex-Moscow region finance minister's extradition from France

Russia will send an extradition request to France for a former Moscow regional administration official suspected of major fraud in the near future, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office reported.

Russia will send an extradition request to France for a former Moscow regional administration official suspected of major fraud in the near future, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office reported.

"The Russian Prosecutor General's Office will send an extradition request to competent bodies of France for First Deputy Chairman of the Moscow regional government and Finance Minister Alexei Kuznetsov so that he can be held criminally liable," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement on Saturday.

The Russian Interior Ministry reported earlier on Saturday that Kuznetsov had been detained in France at a request by Russian law enforcement bodies.

During the detention, detectives found several fake passports on Kuznetsov, a ministry spokesperson said.

Kuznetsov has been on the international wanted list since November 2012 on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and embezzlement on Russian territory.

Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on November 13, 2012 that the investigation against three people accused of embezzling billions of rubles from the Moscow region's budget, including Moscow region Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Nosov, had been completed.

The other two suspects are Vladislav Telepnev, a former general director of the Moscow Regional Trust Company established by the Moscow regional government, and Yelena Kuznetsova, an economist of the company NES-Finance, he said.

The investigation believes that this group "committed nine crimes through fraud and breach of trust between November 2005 and November 2008 by defrauding 16 housing and utilities enterprises of their rights to claim debts amounting to more than 3.5 billion rubles from municipalities in the Chekhov, Klin, Khimki, Pushkino, Noginsk, Lyubertsy and Shatura districts and further legalizing them."

A court arrested Nosov charged with fraud on June 21.

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