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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lawyer's Arrest Privately Probed

A group of defense lawyers flew Thursday to St. Petersburg to try to ascertain who detained the lawyer Dmitry Yakubovsky on Dec. 20 and why, a spokesman for the solicitor said.

Nikolai Gulbinsky said Thursday by phone that the group was looking into reports that Yakubovsky's detention had been organized by law enforcement officers from St. Petersburg who had transported him to the city.

"Their main task will be to find out what finally Yakubovsky is accused of," Gulbinsky said.

The Federal Counterintelligence Service and the Interior Ministry refused for the second day running to comment on the incident.

But Moscow police said Wednesday that Yakubovsky had been arrested by St. Petersburg "law-and-order organs" who had showed his guards state identification cards and a prosecutor's detention warrant.

Yakubovsky, 31, was appointed last year by President Boris Yeltsin to investigate corruption in the upper echelons of power. Two of his targets were Viktor Barannikov and Alexander Rutskoi, then security minister and vice president of Russia respectively.

Barannikov was dismissed shortly after Yakubovsky's inquiry began last July.

Itar-Tass reported that a possible reason for the detention was to look into allegations of his involvement in the theft of a collection of ancient books and manuscripts worth $100 million from the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg earlier this month.

The collection was found a week after the theft, according to the Federal Counterintelligence Service, which gave no further details.