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U.S. Denies Extradition Request for Former Duma Member, Report Says

The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly turned down a Prosecutor General's Office request to extradite former State Duma Deputy Ashot Yegiazaryan back to Russia.

A source in law enforcement told Izvestia that the Liberal Democratic Party member, now living in America, would not be given over to Russian authorities and that he may be tried in absentia.

U.S. State Department representative Pooja Jhunjhunwala said Friday that the United States does not comment on extradition issues.

Yegiazaryan has been living in the United States since the fall of 2010, when he was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against him on fraud charges.

The authorities accuse the former deputy of defrauding his business partner, former head of the Federal Property Management Agency Mikhail Ananyev, of the 500 million rubles ($15 million) that Ananyev invested in the construction of the Europark shopping center on Rublyovskoye Shosse.

Europark shareholder Vitaly Smagin later accused Yegiazaryan of stealing securities worth over 1.5 billion rubles, which the former deputy allegedly used as collateral for a loan to reconstruct the Soviet-era Hotel Moskva.

The politician's absence will mean the case will be detached from the general case and sent to court for sentencing, Izvestia reported.

Yegiazaryan has applied for a political asylum in the U.S. denies the charges.

Other defendants in the case include Europark director Maxim Klyuchin, Yegiazaryan's brother Artem and his assistant Vitaly Gogokhiya, all of whom are also living abroad.

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