Mogilevich Will Face Tax-Evasion Charges

Suspected crime boss Semyon Mogilevich will be charged Wednesday with large-scale tax evasion, his lawyer said Monday.

Mogilevich will be charged along with Arbat Prestige owner Vladimir Nekrasov, with whom Mogilevich was arrested last week in central Moscow, lawyer Alexander Pogonchenkov said, RIA-Novosti reported.

If convicted, they could face up to six years in prison.

Repeated calls to Pogonchenkov for comment went unanswered Monday. But he told RIA-Novosti that he had filed an appeal of Mogilevich's arrest with the Moscow City Court and asked that his client be released on a written promise that he will remain in Moscow pending the investigation.

Mogolevich was using the name Sergei Shnaider when he was detained Wednesday along with Nekrasov in central Moscow. They were placed under arrest Thursday.

Pogonchenkov explained that his client, who is wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for alleged fraud and racketeering, changed his name after marrying Olga Shnaider, a 33-year-old lawyer linked in the Russian media to Arbat Prestige.

Shnaider, Mogilevich's former wife, has disappeared after investigators searched her Moscow apartment over the weekend, her lawyer said Monday.

Her whereabouts are unknown to her colleagues and relatives, Yevgeny Shcheglov told Interfax.

Officials from the Interior Ministry's Central Federal District branch, which is investigating Mogilevich and Nekrasov, could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. indictment against Mogilevich dates back to a 2003 case in Philadelphia in which he and two associates were accused of manipulating stock of the Pennsylvania-based company YBM Magnex.

The FBI notice on Mogilevich says he set up a "complex network of corporations" to "create the illusion that YBM was engaged in a profitable international business, primarily the industrial magnet market."

He and the two other suspects were charged with 45 counts of racketeering, securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, according to the FBI web site, which states that Mogilevich "should be considered armed and dangerous."

It was unclear Monday whether the United States would seek Mogilevich's extradition.

Pogonchenkov has said his client has only Russian citizenship, though unidentified law enforcement sources said last week that Mogilevich holds several passports.

The Constitution does not allow the extradition of Russian citizens, and Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States.

The Ukrainian security service, known by its acronym SBU, has investigated the purported involvement of Mogilevich with RosUkrEnergo, the controversial gas trader that acts as a middleman in Russian gas exports to Ukraine.