Friday, April 19, 2013

Fugitive Russian Banker Arrested in Austria

The former owner of the Bank of East European Finance Corporation (EEFC Bank, St. Petersburg) Alexander Gitelson, who was on the international wanted list for embezzling about 3 billion rubles ($94.6 million), has been arrested at his home in Austria, the newspaper Kommersant reported on Friday. The banker, who has been hiding since autumn 2010, was detained in Mostviertel in Lower Austria. According to the newspaper, he had several passports, including an expired Russian passport. The Prosecutor General’s Office told Kommersant that they would send extradition documents to Austria after they receive official notice of Gitelson’s arrest. The banker’s lawyer, Yevgenia Kotova, has so far seen no documentation of her client’s arrest, Kommersant writes. Gitelson is suspected of a major fraud involving state funds and has been investigated in connection with several cases. In April 2011, the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow sentenced him in absentia to five years in prison for stealing 500 million rubles ($15.8 million) from a member of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament.

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