Ex-Moscow Region official faces charges in $333 mln fraud scheme
MOSCOW, December 18 (RAPSI) – Alexei Kuznetsov, the former finance minister of the Moscow Region, will be charged in connection with an 11 billion ruble (over $333 million) fraud once he has been extradited from France, Russia’s Investigative Committee’s press office reported Wednesday.
According to the statement, there are more than 150 episodes of fraud.
A French court is going to consider a request for Kuznetsov’s extradition on December 19.
The fugitive official was detained on July 5 in a hotel in Gassin, not far from Saint-Tropez, and placed in custody in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Region in southern France.
According to the investigators, from November 2005 to November 2008, a group organized by Kuznetsov deceived several housing and utility companies into selling it over 3.5 billion rubles’ ($109 million) worth of claims against the Moscow Region's municipal authorities. The group laundered and misappropriated the money. It is also alleged to have embezzled the property of company Mosobltransinvest,worth 7.2 billion rubles ($224 million).
Kuznetsov was placed first on the federal and subsequently on the international wanted list in November 2012 on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement. The investigators said the search for Kuznetsov gathered speed after Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin met with the French police chief in January 2013.