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Russia Charges Wealthy Businessman With Illegal Wine Smuggling

The Russian Investigative Committee has arrested one of Russia's wealthiest men and charged him with illegally transporting alcohol across the border and not paying customs duties.

Dmitry Mikhalchenko, General Director of Forum, one of Russia's largest conglomerates, and his deputy Boris Korevsky were among several individuals detained on the smuggling charges, Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Committee, said on March 30.

Mikhalchenko's fortune of 18 billion rubles ($266 million) made him the 46th richest man in Russia in 2015.

The Basmanny Court of Moscow refused to release Mikhalchenko on bail of 50 million rubles ($735,000) on March 30.

An investigator told TASS that the smuggling activities, primarily involving expensive wines, caused "huge" damages exceeding 3 million euros to the Russian economy.

Also charged are Anatoly Kindzersky, deputy director-general of the Contrail Logistic North-West Company Ltd; and Ilya Pichko, director of the South-East Trading Company Ltd.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax