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Poland Refuses to Extradite Wanted Russian Businessman

A Polish court has ruled against extraditing a Russian national suspected of defrauding several companies of stock and property worth an estimated $12 million.

Investigators say that in 2004 Sergei Petrov fraudulently acquired 252 million rubles (about $8 million) worth of shares in the Urals-based UralinvestEnergo industrial group and the South Urals insulator plant, owned by the Uralinvestenergo corporation.

He is also suspected of misappropriating property worth over 119 million rubles (about $4 million) from the Uraleletrosetstroy company, between 2004 and 2006.

"There is no doubt that Petrov was granted refugee status by Ukraine in 2009 and as Poland is a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention his extradition is unacceptable," a Warsaw court judge announced Wednesday.

Speaking after the court announcement, Petrov said he welcomed the verdict and said he hoped that Russia will now close the case against him.

A criminal case was opened against Petrov in April 2005 on charges of grand fraud, money laundering and embezzlement.

He fled Russia and was arrested in Ukraine in 2008, but the country later granted him refugee status and refused to extradite him.

Petrov was detained in Poland on an international wanted warrant in February 2013. Russia sent a request for his extradition to Polish authorities in April.

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