http://gdb.rferl.org/558F5A7C-308F-4F6B-B987-A3862E2A8015_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/558F5A7C-308F-4F6B-B987-A3862E2A8015_mw800_mh600.jpg
Mikhail Kasyanov (file photo)
25 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov returned to Moscow today from abroad amid a criminal probe into his acquisition of a state-owned villa.
Kasyanov had been on vacation at an unknown destination outside the country since prosecutors announced the probe. Though he has denied any wrongdoing, there had been speculation he would stay abroad for fear of prosecution.
The Prosecutor-General's Office opened a criminal case earlier this month into the transactions after a parliamentary deputy in the pro- Kremlin United Russia party demanded an investigation.
Opposition politicians say the case against Kasyanov, who has hinted at ambitions of becoming a presidential contender, is a Kremlin warning to him to stay out of politics.
Scandal Brews Over Possible Probe Of Former Prime Minister