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    RUNAWAY BUSINESSMAN BEWAILS PLIGHT WITH COPS ON HUNT

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    MOSCOW, March 18, RIA NOVOSTI - Criminal proceedings against businessman Alexander Konanykhin are on to this day, and it is too early to give the case up, says Andrei Stepantsev of the Moscow city police investigation board.

    Certain media outlets announced the case closed today. Our informant said it was all wrong, but refused to offer whatever details for detection secrecy's sake.

    The controversial businessman and his legal advisers received an official notification of the case closed earlier on the week, he said to Novosti in a telephone interview.

    As the paper had it, criminal proceedings against him were launched in 1994 without a victim's application. In fact, no one was ever qualified as victim on the case. That means the proceedings clashed with the Criminal Code, Clause 23, said the exasperated businessman.

    The All-Russia Exchange Bank founder was suspected of embezzling his own bank's eight million dollars.

    "The men who kidnapped me in Budapest, 1992, seized my banks and companies in Russia, and went on to have me framed up. They have never landed in the dock- so I can't say I am the winner. Victory belongs to banditry, complained Konanykhin.

    Russian investigators were long demanding their prey extradited- all in vain. When the USA deprived the controversial immigrant of his refugee status, November last, his lawyers easily overrode the decision.

    Last week, the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service made a new agreement with the hapless banker to authorise his sojourn in the country till his case is finally settled-which may take eight to sixteen years.

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