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French Court Agrees to Extradite Former Minister of Finance of Moscow Region to Russia

© RIA NovostiFrench Court of Appeal has approved extradition of the former Finance Minister of the Moscow region to Russia
French Court of Appeal has approved extradition of the former Finance Minister of the Moscow region to Russia - Sputnik International
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The Court of Appeal in the French city of Lyon has approved extradition of the former Finance Minister of the Moscow region Alexei Kuznetsov to Russia, the Russian Prosecutor General's office said on Saturday.

MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - The Court of Appeal in the French city of Lyon has approved extradition of the former Finance Minister of the Moscow region Alexei Kuznetsov to Russia, the Russian Prosecutor General's office said on Saturday.

"On October 17th 2014 the court of appeal of the city of Lyon (France) in its ruling has recommended to grant the request of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation on the extradition for purposes of criminal responsibility of the former deputy head of the government of Moscow region – the region's minister of finance Alexei Kuznetsov," the Prosecutor General's Office spokeswoman Marina Gridneva said.

Gridneva added that Kuznetsov's French lawyers asked the court to deny the extradition of the Russian official claiming that his prosecution is based on political reasons and that his life and health will be at risk "due to the prevalence of human rights violations" in Russia.

Alexei Kuznetsov was detained on July 5, 2013, in the southern French city of Saint Tropez. The Russian Interior Ministry has said that he had several fake passports on him at the time of his detention.

A French court in January ordered his extradition to Russia, but later decided to reconsider the decision.

Russian investigators are ready to charge Kuznetsov with more than 150 counts of fraud resulting in total losses of more than 10 billion rubles ($240 million).

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