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Moscow court gives ex-fin. ministry official 10-yrs for graft

MOSCOW, July 27 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court sentenced a former Finance Ministry official to 10 years in prison Thursday for taking bribes for passing on classified information to two businessmen.

Denis Mikhailov, 37, was arrested late in 2004 and later found guilty of passing on a document to Teimuraz Karchava, the president of a VIP club, and Alexei Kirzhnev, an adviser to the head of an investment bank, in return for a Mercedes worth 87,000 euros ($110,000).

The businessmen were also convicted for their role in the affair and were sent to prison for 21 months and four and a half years respectively.

Vladimir Zherebenkov, a lawyer for Mikhailov, said he intended to appeal the court's verdict.

"This is a very harsh sentence, especially considering that my client's guilt was not proven by the investigation materials," he said.

Mikhailov, who was a deputy department director specializing in foreign affairs and debt, will serve his sentence in a maximum security prison and was also banned from holding a state position for three years after his release.

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