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French Court Agrees To Extradite Former Russian Official

A French appeals court has agreed to a request by Russia to extradite a former finance minister accused of embezzlement.

The court in Lyon ruled on October 17 that Aleksei Kuznetsov should be returned to Russia on the condition he is not subjected to forced labor and could be visited by French officials.

The decision upholds a ruling made last month by a prosecutor dismissing claims that Kuznetsov would face political persecution in Russia.

Kuznetsov was arrested near St. Tropez in summer 2013 and reportedly held passports under five different names.

He is accused by Russia of embezzling billions of rubles while he was finance minister for the Moscow region for several years ending in 2008.

The money was allegedly used to buy property abroad.

Kuznetsov fled Russia after a business associate was murdered.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS