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Russia Renews Extradition Call For Yukos Figure

Leonid Nevzlin (file photo) 15 July 2005 -- Moscow officials today renewed their call for the extradition of Leonid Nevzlin, a key figure in the Yukos oil company, after he appeared before a U.S. Congressional hearing in Washington.

Speaking today in televised remarks, Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General Vladimir Kolesnikov said he found it "shameful" that the United States' highest institution would provide a tribune to a man guilty of serious crimes.

Nevzlin is wanted in Russia on crimes that include alleged contract killings.

Nevzlin told a U.S. Congressional committee on 13 July that the Kremlin was using the courts to crush its political opponents and urged that Russia not be granted membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Nevzlin, a major shareholder in Yukos, fled Russia for Israel in 2003 as Russian authorities intensified their efforts to prosecute alleged tax and criminal wrongdoing by Yukos and its owners, including the company's recently convicted founder Mikhail Khodorkovskii.

The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Russia.