MOSCOW, June 16 (RAPSI) – A French court of appeals has postponed until September the extradition hearing of the former Finance Minister of the Moscow Region, Alexei Kuznetsov, who stands accused in a $10 million fraud case, until September, Kommersant newspaper writes.
The ex-minister’s fate was expected to be decided on June 12 in Lyon.
Kuznetsov, who fled Russia in 2008 and was soon afterwards charged with many crimes and put on Interpol’s wanted list, was detained in France in possession of a forged passport in July 2013.
According to investigators, from November 2005 to November 2008, a group organized by Kuznetsov deceived 16 housing and utility companies into selling it over 3.5 billion rubles’ ($109 million) worth of claims against the Moscow Region’s municipal authorities. The group laundered and misappropriated the money.
They are also suspected of having embezzled 27 billion rubles ($787 million) from a Moscow Region investment company, which invested in social projects. The regional government was the company’s sole shareholder, Kuznetsov supervised its operation, and his deputy, Valery Nosov, was chairman of the company’s board of directors.
The investigators believe that in 2007 the suspects established a firm on behalf of the investment company, to which they transferred a controlling stake of the investment company.
Kuznetsov has been charged with fraud and money laundering. If he is found guilty, he could be sentenced to a long prison term.
Kuznetsov was placed on the federal and subsequently on the international wanted list in November 2012 on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement.