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Businessman's 5-Year Pretrial Detention Extended

A district court in Rostov-on-Don has ruled to keep businessman Iosif Katsiv, who has already spent five years in pretrial detention on fraud charges, in custody for three more months, a news report said Monday.

"Pretrial detention for Iosif Katsiv has been extended until June 2, 2013," the press office of the Rostov region's business ombudsman told Interfax.

The investigation of his case began in 2008. The businessman is suspected of defrauding Raffeisen Bank of about 1.3 billion rubles ($43 million) through a scheme involving illegal loans and money laundering, Interfax said.

Boris Titov, Russia's chief business ombudsman, in December called Katsiv's prosecution in this case outrageous.

Titov said this case was unprecedented because the defendant had spent five years behind bars without a trial.

The ombudsman noted that Russian law does not allow authorities to keep an entrepreneur accused of violations related to his business activity in pre-trial detention.

But this particular case is further complicated by the fact that the suspect suffers from diabetes.

In February, the head of the Rostov Regional Court, Viktor Tkachev, said the hearing of the Katsiv case would be sped up.

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