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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yaponchik Trial Begins

NEW YORK () -- The trial of an accused Russian mobster opened with federal prosecutors saying they had wiretap proof of a Russian organized crime conspiracy to extort money from a small Wall Street firm.

A defense lawyer however told U.S. District Court in Brooklyn that Vyacheslav Ivankov, also known as "Yaponchik," was legally seeking repayment of a loan and his methods did not include a hint of violence. Before the trial opened to a packed courtroom Wednesday, the prosecutor brought additional charges against Ivankov -- saying he had wed an American woman in a "marriage of convenience" to stay in the country. Ivankov, 55, has pleaded not guilty to the immigration fraud charge.