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Russia: Police Official Cites Interference From Government

Moscow, July 31 (RFE/RL) -- A top Russian police investigator blames wayward officials and legal problems for the country's low conviction rate of criminals.

Andrei Stepantsev, head of the Moscow Police Investigations Department, told journalists today in Moscow that investigators often meet with, quote, "interference, to put it mildly" from officials as they seek to investigate economic crimes.

Stepantsev said that Moscow police are currently investigating almost 3,000 economic crimes. He said the trails left by many of the economic crimes lead "to the highest levels of government." He did not provide further clarification of the claim.

Deutsche Presse Agentur reports that one of the largest economic crimes now under investigation involves the disappearance of millions of dollars worth of federal funds earmarked for the reconstruction of war-torn Chechnya.