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Court extradites Putin’s official to Russia

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Prague, July 12 (CTK) – A Czech court has extradited Aleksander Nikolayev, former Russian senior official subordinate directly to President Vladimir Putin, to Russia where he is accused of conspiracy and a fraud causing damage of dozens of millions of roubles to the state, daily Pravo wrote on Tuesday.

Nikolayev, 63, was detained by the police in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, in January on the basis of an international arrest warrant. The General Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow asked for his extradition for criminal prosecution then, Pravo says.

“We have found no obstacles to prevent his extradition to Russia,” the regional court panel’s chairman, Pavel Fait, told Pravo.

The Russian law enforcement bodies assure Prague that all human rights regulations will be observed in this case.

If Russia violated its guarantee, it would face a risk of other countries not being willing to extradite Russian citizens in the future, Fait added.

However, the Czech court’s verdict issued on Monday is not valid yet since Nikolayev filed a complaint against it on the spot. Consequently, the Prague High Court will deal with his case, Pravo writes.

If it upheld the verdict, the final decision would be up to Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO). He may also ask the Supreme Court to assess the case, Pravo says.

According to the Russian charges, Nikolayev committed the crimes in the post of general director of the Federal budgetary office within the administration of the Russian president’s affairs.

He allegedly committed a fraud in connection with a 0.25-billion-rouble contract on the reconstruction of a waiting room and a railway platform to secure the rail transport of the head of state. Nikolayev is suspected of a manipulated tender for the constructor, an overpriced contract and poor-quality construction works.

Nikolayev denies any wrongdoing, Pravo writes.

“All the charges are false. I have never planned or intended to steal Putin’s money. I would have been a fool otherwise,” he said.

He also claims that the charges are fabricated by the investigator in Moscow who was assigned to make a fraud of him, Pravo adds.

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