Poland to consider extraditing ex-Russian prosecutor on Feb. 8
MOSCOW, February 6 - RAPSI. Hearings will resume on Friday, February 8, in the Polish extradition case of former Russian prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko, who is currently sought by Russian authorities for his involvement in a large-scale illegal gambling ring.
Friday's hearing will be held in Poland's Nowy Sacz District Court.
Russia is seeking Ignatenko's extradition as he has been named as a suspect in a notorious illegal casino case. The illegal casino scandal caused a public uproar in 2011. Businessman Ivan Nazarov allegedly operated illegal casinos in 15 towns across the Moscow region.
Russian federal investigators filed for his extradition with the Polish authorities in October 2011.
The former official was arrested on January 1 last year in the Polish resort town of Zakopane ski. Since then, he has remained in Polish custody, fighting extradition all the while.
A Nowy Sacz court granted permission for Ignatenko's extradition last February. An appeals court in Krakow upheld the ruling the following month.
Alexander Asnis, Ignatenko's lawyer, predicted to RAPSI earlier that Ignatenko may have been extradited to Russia on February 7.
However, the extradition has frequently been delayed and his detention frequently extended.
While the nature of Ignatenko's particular role in the scandal remains unclear, according to law enforcement authorities, high-ranking officials from prosecutor's offices and the Interior Ministry were involved in the casino scheme, which generated between $5 million and $10 million in monthly revenue.
Casinos were outlawed in Russia on July 1, 2009, when a federal law was passed banning any gambling in the country except in four special zones located in different regions. Since the law was enacted thousands of illegal gambling ventures have been closed by law enforcement agencies.
The Moscow region gambling ring turned out to be one of the biggest of its kind.