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Moscow Court Upholds Warrant For Russian Billionaire

Mikhail Gutseriyev (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) September 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A Moscow court today upheld a warrant issued for the arrest of Mikhail Gutseriyev, a Russian oil tycoon who has been charged with tax evasion and illegal business activities.

Gutseriyev's whereabouts are unknown but prosecutors said today they believed he had fled to Turkey.

"We received information from the Belarusian Interior Ministry that [Gutseriyev]
flew from Minsk to Antalya, Turkey," RFE/RL's Russian Service quoted Viktor Gvozdev, a spokesman of the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office, as saying. "After that, an international arrest warrant
for him was issued, and we have already sent information about him to the
Interpol headquarters."

Gutseriyev has accused the government of forcing him to step down as chief executive of the oil company Russneft in July.

Alla Yaminskaya, a lawyer for Gutseriyev, described the charges as "unfounded and absurd."

(with material from AP)