Suspected Crime Boss Mogilevich Arrested With Arbat Prestige Owner

Police have arrested Semyon Mogilevich, a suspected organized crime boss wanted by the FBI, officials and his lawyer said Friday.

The Ukrainian-born Mogilevich, who has changed his name to Sergei Schneider, was detained late Wednesday together with Arbat Prestige owner Vladimir Nekrasov in central Moscow, Mogilevich's lawyer, Alexander Pogonchikov, said Friday.

The Ostankinsky District Court placed the two men under arrest on suspicion of large-scale tax fraud late Thursday, Moscow City Court spokeswoman Marina Malygina said.

Mogilevich is wanted by the FBI in connection with a 2003 indictment 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."

A U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said the United States was "not involved in the recent investigations and arrests in Russia."

The two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

The embassy spokeswoman referred all questions to the U.S. Department of Justice, which did not return calls for comment Friday.

Around 50 police commandos rounded up Mogilevich and Nekrasov as they were leaving the parking lot of the World Trade Center at around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Pogonchikov said.

State-run television Friday showed footage of Mogilevich as police held him and some bodyguards up against a car. It also showed footage of the seldom-photographed Mogilevich in custody wearing jeans, a leather jacket and a cap.

Both Pogonchikov and Nekrasov's lawyer, Alexander Dobrovinsky, said they would appeal the arrests Monday.

Pogonchikov said his client had no relation whatsoever to Arbat Prestige."

The two suspects "are not business partners, just good acquaintances," Pogonchikov said.

Mogilevich changed his name to Sergei Schneider after getting married, Pogonchikov said. Malygina, the Moscow City Court spokeswoman, said the suspect was born in 1946 and officially worked as a consultant in a company called Evergate LTD. Both he had Nekrasov have been placed under arrest for two months, Malygina said.

Citing a law enforcement source, Itar-Tass reported Mogilevich has used 17 different names and holds passports from several countries. Pogonchikov said his client had only a Russian passport. "He does not have any other citizenships," Pogonchikov said.

Mogilevich has been based in Moscow for seven or eight years and has not left the country for the past few years "for obvious reasons," Zeev Gordon, an Israeli lawyer who has represented Mogilevich in the past, said by telephone from Tel Aviv.

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