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Over 66,000 offenders of Russian justice hiding abroad – official

MOSCOW, Feb. 26 — Some 66,000 wrongdoers wanted in Russia for various offences are hiding in different countries around the world, Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor-General Alexander Zvyagintsev told the government-published daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview.

“Over 66,000 people are on the international lists of wanted offenders. They were put there at Russia’s initiative. The list has grown that long over the many years Russia has been involved in the international mechanisms of the search for criminals within the framework of Interpol and the CIS. In cooperation with the Interior Ministry we arrange for their international search and, once they have been tracked down, take measures using Foreign Ministry resources to secure their detention,” Zvyagintsev said.

According to the senior official, last year alone the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office dispatched over 500 requests to other countries for the extradition of suspects.

“An absolute majority of such requests goes to the CIS countries,” Zvyagintsev said.

Last year other countries made decisions in favor of the extradition of 289 accused persons to Russia.

“Escapees of means usually select industrialized countries with liberal legislations. Many ask for asylum ostensibly for political reasons for the sole purpose of gaining immunity from extradition to the Russian judiciary,” Zvyagintsev said.

“The greatest number of runaway offenders is in Israel and Britain. Incidentally, the latter’s capital is quite often referred to as Londongrad. As you may have guessed, it is a shelter not for ordinary pickpockets, but persons of means,” he remarked.

The list of countries where escapees tend to take refuge grew considerably of late. Ever more often they set eyes on some exotic countries, with which Russia has no extradition agreements. For instance, Russia had to request extraditions on the condition of reciprocity from such countries as Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Cambodia and Nicaragua.

“On the list of those extradited there are accomplices to both high- and low-profile criminal cases. For instance, Spain has extradited one Gasayev, held responsible for serial killings, and also several persons involved in the theft of three fishing boats. The Czech Republic has extradited one Burshtein, charged with the theft of 20 million dollars, and Germany, a man wanted for intentional bankruptcy and embezzlement of one billion rubles.

Alongside the CIS member-states such countries as Germany, Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland, Italy and Austria agreed to act on extradition requests most often over the past three years. (PNA/Itar-Tass)

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