Court Extends Storchak Detention

A court on Thursday granted a request by state prosecutors to extend the detention of Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, who has been charged with attempting to embezzle $43 million.

The Moscow court agreed to keep Storchak in custody until April 9, meaning that the aide to Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin will remain behind bars until after voters elect a successor to President Vladimir Putin in early March.

Storchak has been charged, together with three businessmen, in connection with a failed attempt to recover a debt owed by Algeria.

Storchak denied any guilt in court Thursday and said every day he is in custody costs the country $1 million, Interfax said. He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Storchak was arrested in November in what is widely viewed as part of a power struggle between Kremlin clans.