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    Moscow urges fairness for Russian facing fraud charges in Iraq

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    MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Iraq's financial claims against a Russian national should be considered objectively, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

    Pyotr Makaikin, director of a construction firm building a $15.7 million five-star hotel in the city of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, has been entangled in a financial dispute with local client company Sherwan General Construction, which has allegedly paid him a $150,000 advance.

    "However, work has not even begun, which is why the sum must be returned to the client," Mikhail Kamynin said.

    According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Iraqi officials are dealing with the conflict, and Makaikin's case will be transferred to a court in the near future.

    "The Russian Foreign Ministry will continue insisting on a fair consideration of financial claims against Makaikin," Kamynin said.

    Russian media reports appeared earlier this week saying that the businessman had been abducted and that his wife had received a $150,000 ransom demand. Kamynin said some media had accused the ministry of reluctance to help Makaikin.

    "But the facts are different, because the Russian Embassy in Baghdad has been dealing with the issue since late October, when Makaikin's relatives asked for help," he said, adding that the embassy had turned to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and local authorities, and that proper consular assistance had been rendered to the businessman.

    "We find it necessary to reiterate our recommendations to Russian nationals that they refrain from visiting Iraq, and that those who must enter the country for urgent business reasons should register at the consular department of the Russian Embassy in Baghdad," Kamynin said.

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