Russia releases crime boss wanted by US for alleged fraud and racketeering
Semion Mogilevich   /  Photo:

Russia releases crime boss wanted by US for alleged fraud and racketeering

27 Jul, 01:31 PM

Russia has released a suspected organized crime boss who is wanted by the United States for alleged fraud and racketeering, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing his lawyer.

Semion Mogilevich, who the US Federal Bureau of Investigation says created a powerful crime group in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, was arrested in Russia in 2008 and accused of tax evasion at a major cosmetics retailer.

"I spoke with him on Friday after he was released. He is happy to be home," Mogilevich's lawyer in Israel, Zeev Gordon, was quoted as saying by the FT.

Mogilevich's lawyers repeatedly said their client was innocent and denied any links to the cosmetics chain Arbat Prestige, where prosecutors said the tax evasion took place.

Gordon said a Russian court had freed Mogilevich and an alleged associate, Vladimir Nekrasov, on bail because the terms under which he could be held had expired.

Gordon said the court had sent the prosecutors' tax fraud case back to investigators claiming it needed more work.

"There is no evidence against him," Gordon was quoted as saying by the FT. A spokeswoman for the Russian Prosecutor-General could not be reached for immediate comment.

The FBI says on its Web site that Mogilevich is wanted for racketeering, fraud and money laundering. Ukrainian-born Mogilevich has denied US allegations that he is a crime boss.

When Mogilevich was arrested, analysts said the real motive could be linked to accusations that he was involved in the multi-billion-dollar gas trade between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has accused Mogilevich of being behind RosUkrEnergo, an intermediary firm which sells gas to Ukraine. Mogilevich has previously denied any links to the firm through a lawyer .


Tags: Russia, US, crime, Semion Mogilevich,

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