Top Russian official indicted

Nov. 23, 2007 at 10:45 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Sergei Storchak, the Russian deputy finance minister, has been indicted for allegedly attempting to defraud the state of $43 million.

Storchak's lawyer, Igor Pastukhov, told the Interfax news agency Friday the indictment was presented at the Lefortovo detention center, where Storchak was in custody.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who is also a deputy prime minister of Russia, told RIA Novosti he doubted Storchak was involved in plans to embezzle state funds.

"I don't think there was an embezzlement attempt," he said. "This can be ruled out."

Storchak was arrested with two others in Moscow. Investigators told RIA Novosti Storchak was arrested because authorities were concerned he might destroy evidence of intimidate witnesses.

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