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Ex-Moscow Region Prosecutor Ignatenko Released From Custody

Former Moscow region deputy prosecutor Alexander Ignatenko, accused of involvement in a network of illegal casinos, has been released from a Moscow jail.

Ignatenko, 53, left the Lefortovo prison shortly before midnight on Monday but refused to comment on the details of his release. The term of his pretrial detention had expired.

Ignatenko's lawyer, Alexander Asnis, said investigators had not requested the extension of his detention as they did not have enough evidence to prove his involvement in illegal casino rackets and taking bribes amounting to 40 million rubles ($1.3 million), Life News reported.

The Prosecutor General's Office announced in June that the case against Ignatenko and former Moscow Regional Prosecutor Office department head Dmitry Urumov had been returned to the Investigative Committee for an additional investigation.

Ignatenko fled Russia and was placed on an international wanted list after police uncovered a massive gambling operation in spring 2011.

He was detained by Polish police at the popular ski resort of Zakopane in January last year and extradited to Russia in February 2013.

Ignatenko's defense has lodged several complaints with the Prosecutor General's Office, saying no reliable evidence of his guilt had been found during the initial investigation. His lawyers also said some actions taken by investigators were illegal.

Casinos were outlawed in Russia on July 1, 2009, when a federal law was passed banning any gambling in the country except in four special zones located in four different regions. Since the law was enacted, thousands of illegal gambling ventures have been closed by law enforcement agencies.

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