Sentence Upheld in Tri Kita Smuggling Case

The Moscow City Court threw out on Monday an appeal by Sergei Zuyev, former owner of the Tri Kita and Grand furniture stores, against a lower court's decision to sentence him to eight years in prison in a high-profile smuggling case.

The court also confirmed rulings for Zuyev's convicted accomplices, three of whom were sentenced in April to four to 7 1/2 years in prison, as well as five others who were released with suspended sentences, Interfax reported.

Zuyev's lawyer, Kirill Polishchuk, promised to appeal, saying the sentence was too severe. He also said his client would file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights over his detention conditions. He did not elaborate.

The Tri Kita case, opened in 2000, ignited a battle between various law enforcement agencies and led then-President Vladimir Putin to appoint a personal friend, Vladimir Loskutov, to oversee the case in 2002.

Media reports have suggested that Zuyev received support from officials to smuggle furniture, but no government employee has been convicted in the case.

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