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    RUSSIA: STATISTICAL COMMITTEE BOSSES GO BEHIND THE BARS

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 2, RIA NOVOSTI - The Moscow City Court has announced a verdict on the criminal case of State Statistical Committee bosses.

    Yuri Yurkov, once committee president, has been sentenced to 54 months imprisonment, and Boris Saakyan, former chief of the committee computation centre, 48 months - both in maximum security prison. A 48 month sentence has been suspended for Vyacheslav Baranovsky, former committee department head. The other defendants have been amnestied in hearings which took start early last June, and in which none of the people in the dock pleaded guilty.

    During pleadings on the case, Victor Antipov and Natalia Makarova, counsels for the prosecution, demanded five to twelve year prison terms for the suspects, with the most severe punishment for Yurkov.

    Launched back in 1998, the criminal proceedings involved Yuri Yurkov; Valeri Dalin, his deputy; Boris Saakyan; and department heads of the State Statistical Committee, the Labour Ministry and the FAPSI-federal agency of government communications: Valeri Salnikov, Zoya Denisenkova, Vyacheslav Baranovsky, Mikhail Malyshev and Evgeni Gurov.

    Investigators suspected the Statistical Committee bosses of selling classified information to commercial companies.

    Yurkov, Saakyan and Dalin were charged with repeated taking and giving exorbitant bribes, property misappropriation and embezzlement, and paper forgeries. Boris Saakyan was also accused of bribing commercial companies.

    The defendants received bribes to a total exceeding a million roubles, assumed the prosecution.

    2.6 million US dollars and more than 100,000 German marks was confiscated from the suspects while the investigation was on.

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