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Russia's Ex-Basketball Boss Sentenced Over Corruption

The former president of Russia's Basketball Federation has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in a penal colony for embezzling 44 million rubles ($765,000), Russian news agencies reported.

Yulia Anikeyeva -- who did not appear in the Moscow court on October 23 and is wanted by authorities -- put together a system of fake contracts with associates pretending to be businesspeople who then handed money back to her, according to the charges.

David Khetchyan, a lawyer for Anikeyeva, said she did not attend the sentencing because "she understood it was impossible to hope for an objective judgement."

Khetchyan said that the verdict could be appealed. He said he was unaware of the whereabouts of his client.

Russia's Investigative Committee launched a probe into the alleged embezzlement from the federation's budget in December 2015.

Earlier this year Yelena Silina, an accountant for the federation, was given a 3 1/2-year prison term for aiding the embezzlement.

FIBA, basketball's international governing body, suspended the Russian Basketball Federation in 2015 over its perceived inability to resolve long-standing institutional and legal issues.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax