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Ex-Senator Freed on Parole

A former Kalmykia representative on the Federation Council, Levon Chakhmakhchyan, was released on parole after serving half his prison term for extortion, his lawyer told Interfax on Friday.

Chakhmakhchyan, who was handed a 7 1/2-year term in 2008, was freed in January, but his release was not reported earlier, Interfax said. The former senator is now heading a nongovernmental fund, his lawyer said, without elaborating.

Chakhmakhchyan was convicted of extorting $1.5 million from Transaero in 2006 by promising to help the airline settle problems over its unpaid customs duties. He was the first senator to be jailed since the Federation Council's inception in 1993.

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