Second man in Russian cosmetics retailer case remanded in custody

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MOSCOW, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow City Court has remanded in custody the man arrested alongside the owner of the Arbat Prestige cosmetics retailer last month, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported on Monday.

Semion Mogilevich, 61, also known as Sergei Shnaider is a Ukrainian-born Russian passport-holder accused by both Russian authorities and the FBI of involvement in criminal activities.

Russian authorities have alleged that he was behind a tax evasion scheme said to have been used by Arbat Prestige.

The court rejected a request from his lawyers that their client be released on 5 million ruble (around $200,000) bail or on a pledge not to leave Moscow.

Mogilevich was detained in Moscow with Arbat Prestige owner Vladimir Nekrasov, 47, on January 23. Tax evasion charges were brought against the pair on January 30. The arrest of the two men has been described as a major police operation, involving elite commandoes.

Nekrasov's lawyers had requested that their client be released on 49-million ruble ($2 million) bail, the sum that Russian tax authorities say he owes in back taxes for January 2005 - December 2006. The request was rejected on February 11.

One of Nekrasov's lawyers added that his client had received an offer to sell the company. He declined to give any further details, however.

Arbat Prestige is one of Russia's leading cosmetic retailers. Established in 1989, it opened its first retail outlet in 1998, and currently runs a network of 64 outlets across Russia. The company reported income of around $346 million in 2006.

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