01:52 GMT +321 March 2018
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    Moscow court sanctions arrest of former cell phone chain co-owner

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    MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court has issued an arrest warrant for a founder and former co-owner of Russia's top mobile phone retailer, Euroset, on kidnapping charges.

    Investigators suspect Yevgeny Chichvarkin, currently in the U.K., of authorizing the 2003 kidnapping of Euroset's shipping agent, Andrei Vlaskin, who allegedly stole large quantities of mobile phones from the company and then sold them on through a retail outlet he had set up for the purpose.

    "The court believes the investigators' request should be honored," presiding judge Olga Dubrovina said.

    She said the suspect had fled investigators and could influence any further probe into the case.

    Chichvarkin's defense lawyers said they would appeal the ruling with the higher Moscow City Court. Lawyer Vladimir Zherebyonkov said the arrest was illegal as no separate criminal case had been opened against his client. He said the charges against Chichvarkin were brought as part of an earlier kidnapping case against former Euroset vice president Boris Levin and two other company officials.

    Prosecutors said furniture and other property from Chichvarkin's home near Moscow were being removed and his family seemed to be leaving the property. Chichvarkin left Moscow for Britain on December 22, 2008.

    Chichvarkin remains a candidate in the leadership race of the Moscow branch of the recently-formed Pravoye Delo (Right Cause) pro-Kremlin, right-wing party, a senior party member said on Wednesday.

    "I do not see any grounds for striking Yevgeny off the shortlist of candidates," Andrei Dunayev said, adding that he would recommend him for the post at a session of the party's ruling body on February 4.

    Party leaders, however, earlier said the Moscow branch could not be headed by a man living abroad.

    Another party official said a website in support of Chichvarkin would be launched later on Wednesday.

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