Court Refuses to Grant Mogilevich Bail

ReutersMogilevich appearing by video link from jail. He is accused of tax evasion and asked to be freed on bail of $203,000.
A Moscow court refused to grant bail on Monday to suspected crime boss Semyon Mogilevich, charged with tax evasion and wanted by the United States on fraud, racketeering and money laundering charges.

Mogilevich, accused of tax evasion at one of Russia's biggest cosmetics retailers, asked the court on Monday to free him on bail of 5 million rubles ($203,000).

"I've had a bout of illness here. I have diabetes. I won't live to hear the acquittal or the guilty verdict, if that's what the court decides," Mogilevich, 61, told the judge at the Moscow City Court, who refused his request.

Mogilevich's lawyers said he was innocent had no links to the cosmetics chain Arbat Prestige, where the purported tax evasion took place.

A squad of armed police arrested Mogilevich last month with Arbat Prestige owner Vladimir Nekrasov outside Moscow's World Trade Center.

Analysts have said the real motive for Mogilevich's arrest last month could be linked to allegations that he was involved in the multibillion-dollar gas trade between Russia and Ukraine.

His arrest came amid a high-profile campaign by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to do away with RosUkrEnergo, a natural gas trader that she claimed Mogilevich had links to.

Mogilevich and RosUkrEnergo have denied any links.

Under a deal agreed last week between President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, RosUkrEnergo will be replaced in the trade by companies owned jointly by Gazprom and Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz.

Reuters, MT