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Moscow court set to hear Adamov case Dec. 5

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MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court has scheduled a hearing for December 5 in the case of Russia's ex-nuclear power minister, charged with embezzlement and abuse of office, a RIA Novosti correspondent said Friday.

The Zamoskvoretsky District Court rejected an appeal by Adamov's defense to send his case back to the Prosecutor General's Office to correct shortcomings in the investigation and clarify the charges.

Yevgeny Adamov, 67, has been accused of leading an organized criminal group that inflicted damage worth over 3 billion rubles (about $110 million) to the Russian budget, enterprises and organizations.

In Friday's ruling, a judge said the appeal to correct shortcomings was premature.

"Had the court decided to send the case back to prosecutors, it would not have changed a thing," Adamov told RIA Novosti. "The judge made a wise decision."

Adamov is being prosecuted along with two co-defendants, Vyacheslav Pismennyi, former director of the Troitsky research center, and Revmir Freishut, former director of TechSnabExport.

The trial has already been adjourned twice - on October 26 and November 8 - because Adamov's lawyers did not appear in court, and one of the defendants was in the hospital.

Adamov was originally arrested in Switzerland in May 2005 at the request of the United States, where authorities accuse him of misappropriating $9 million given to Russia for nuclear safety projects. Had he been convicted in the U.S., Adamov would have faced 60 years in prison.

He was extradited to Russia in early 2006 to face charges but was released by the Russian Supreme Court July 21, after a total of 15 months in prison, to await trial.

Adamov, who served from 1998 to 2001 as Russia's nuclear power minister, said in October he will insist on a trial in a U.S. court, although the U.S. authorities have accused him of a crime they said was committed in Russia.

On October 16, the Moscow City Court canceled the Zamoskvoretsky District Court's earlier decision to send Adamov's case back to the Prosecutor General's Office for a clarification of the charges.

The city court thereby upheld an appeal by prosecutors against the district court decision. Prosecutors demanded that the case should instead be sent for retrial in the district court.

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