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Luzhkov's Brother-in-Law Remains in Prison

The brother-in-law of former Mayor Yury Luzhkov is to remain in pretrial detention on fraud charges until late January, a city court ruled Wednesday.

Viktor Baturin, brother of Luzhkov's billionaire wife Yelena Baturina, was not to be freed because of his criminal record and the severity of the accusations against him, said Judge Alexei Pravoruchko of the Tverskoi District Court, Interfax reported.

Prosecutors accuse Baturin of attempting to sell fake loan contracts from Inteko, his sister's former real estate company.

He was detained in Inteko's office Monday as he tried to sell a fake 10.8 million ruble ($352,000) promissory note. Earlier media reports spoke of notes worth a combined 5.7 billion rubles.

The court rejected a request from his lawyers to be freed on bail or have him put on house arrest. It argued that Baturin might hide from investigators or pressure witnesses, the report said.

Baturin denies the charges. His lawyer Igor Shabanov said after the ruling that he would file an appeal.

The businessman has a history of sparring with his sister over Inteko. When Baturina sold the company for an alleged $1.2 billion in September, he challenged the deal in court.

However, Luzhkov said Wednesday that the case against his brother-in-law was actually directed against himself.

"It is regrettable that this man is actively used by the government and media in the mobbing campaign against the ex-mayor and his wife," he told Interfax, adding that he thought that Baturin suffers "from psychological disorders."

Luzhkov also stressed that he and his wife have severed all links to Baturin.

Meanwhile, police said the businessman might face defamation charges after insulting investigators, Lifenews.ru reported. The tabloid portal published an undated video Tuesday in which Baturin swears at plainclothes officers trying to arrest him. The footage from an unidentified office also shows the businessman retreating to the toilet and refusing to leave it.

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