Official: Russia puts over 3,000 persons on Interpol most wanted list

Russian Prosecutor General's Office praised cooperation with Europe

The Russian Prosecutor General's office has put over 3,000 persons on the Interpol most wanted list, Saak Karapetyan, head of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office International Legal Department, has said.

"More than 3,000 persons accused or convicted in Russia have been put on the Interpol most wanted list alone at our request," Karapetyan said in an interview published by the newspaper Izvestia on March 31.

France has made a final decision to grant the Russian Prosecutor General's Office request for the extradition of former owner and chairman of the BTA Bank board of directors Mukhtar Ablyazov and former Moscow region finance minister Alexei Kuznetsov.

"Both have been in custody in France for two and a half years. We are expecting the French authorities to make a final decision on their extradition to Russia already this year," Karapetyan said.

In addition, Austria is expected to extradite crime boss Aslan Gagiyev to Russia. "He had been in hiding in Austria, we found him and insisted on the extradition - the Austrian police took him into custody although he had tried to influence the Austrian judiciary to stall the extradition process," Karapetyan said.

Speaking of the return of illegal incomes from abroad, Karapetyan said more than $350 million worth of funds and six major real estate properties to a total sum of hundreds of millions of euro had been frozen at Russia's request in the past two years.

"For some reason, the United States does not want to help our criminal inquiry into former Moscow region finance minister Alexei Kuznetsov and Sergei Danilochkin accused of stealing more than 5 billion rubles from the budget," Karapetyan said in his comments on international cooperation in the return of illegal incomes.

He noted a similar situation in relations with the UK.

Karapetyan lauded cooperation with France, where "more expensive real estate properties to a total cost of 20 million euro owned by Kuznetsov and his accomplices were found last year."

"An agreement has been reached to freeze these assets in the interests of the Russian Federation; they will be sold and the assets will be regained," Karapetyan said.

He also praised cooperation with Switzerland.

"More than $110 million have been returned from Switzerland in the past few years at our request. The latest example is the return of assets of former Federation Council member Igor Izmestyev sentenced to life on charges of banditry and murder," the Prosecutor General's Office representative said.

More than 20 major cases are being probed together with Swiss colleagues, he said. "The return of over $500 million frozen in Swiss banks at our request is pending," Karapetyan said.

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