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    FEW IN U.S. SENATE SUPPORT APPEALS TO EXPEL RUSSIA FROM G8-SENATOR LOTT

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    MOSCOW, April 8, (RIA Novosti) - Appeals by some American politicians to expel Russia from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations are supported by only a minority of the U.S. Senate. Senator Trent Lott, who co-chairs the U.S. Senate-Russian Federation Council Working Group, said so as he spoke Wednesday with the Chairman of the Russian Auditing Chamber, Sergei Stepashin.

    The Stepashin-led Auditing Chamber delegation's visit to the United States is drawing to a close now, spokespeople for the Chamber report in a press release.

    Stepashin told Lott that legal proceedings had been launched against several officials suspected of wrongdoings following an inquiry by the Auditing Chamber into the alleged misuse of funds allocated by the U.S. government for the construction of a facility to destroy chemical weapons in the town of Shchuchye, Russia's Kurgan region. He also noted that the inquiry had not confirmed the allegations that the $4.8 billion loan tranche disbursed by the International Monetary Fund had failed to come into Russia in full.

    During his visit to the United States, Russia's chief auditor held talks with his American counterpart, Comptroller General David Walker; he also had meetings with Richard Lugar, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and with members of the U.S. business community, and attended a session of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) working group for money laundering prevention.

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