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    MOSCOW, January 12, 2004, (RIA Novosti) - Crime in Russia poses no threat to national security, Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov believes.

    In an interview for the Rossiiskaya Gazeta's January 13 issue, Ustinov said the latest statistics gave no indication that crime in Russia was assuming menacing proportions and would put national security in jeopardy.

    Speaking of counter-terrorism measures, Ustinov said that Russian law-enforcement agencies had developed schemes to effectively deal with crimes falling into this category. Almost all of the terrorist attacks carried out in Russia in recent years have been successfully solved, he claimed.

    The Russian Prosecutor-General also touched upon the fight against corruption, highlighting the law-enforcers' achievements in this area. More than 7,000 embezzlement cases were solved last year, he reported.

    In reply to a question about the prosecution's "unusually close attention" to tycoons, Ustinov said that he couldn't see why 2003 had been any different from previous years. It would just be unfair to accuse the prosecutors of any bias against the oligarchs, he said emphatically.

    In their work, prosecutors rely on concrete facts rather than abstract conceptualizations and the sole reason for their putting someone under "close scrutiny" is an alleged violation of law by that person, Ustinov said. No one found guilty of a crime should be given privileges, however high his/her rank may be, he added.

    "As for the Khodorkovsky case, we are through with the investigation by now. We are in favor of an open trial," said the Russian Prosecutor General, referring to the current proceedings against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former CEO of the Yukos oil giant who had been arrested on embezzlement charges last October.

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