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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Denies Bail To Russian Pair

SEATTLE, Washington -- Two immigrants from the former Soviet Union, accused of abducting a Russian student and trying to extort money from his family, have been denied bail by a federal magistrate.


Gary Chern, 35, and Egidyus Klimas, 31, have been in custody since their arrest Aug. 8.


Though the government's case focuses mostly on Chern, who owns the international trading company East-West Consultants, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Lord told the court Friday that both men are at risk of flight and pose a danger.


Chern and Klimas are accused of kidnapping a Russian student in November 1994 outside a Seattle restaurant, calling the victim's father in Russia and demanding payment of a $315,000 business debt as ransom. Chern allegedly told the father if he didn't comply, his son would be "fish bait."


The student was immediately released, but the father gave up his interest in a factory in Russia, Lord said.


In detention hearings that began last week, prosecutors alleged that the defendants had access to large sums of money in overseas business interests. They also have said the two men would harm the victim and government informants in the case if they were released.


Federal prosecutors contend that Chern, who is based in the Seattle suburb of Edmonds, has put two houses he owns up for sale, saying that is evidence of his intent to flee if released. They say Chern may have sold his Lamborghini sports car without informing the bank that is carrying his $109,000 car loan on the vehicle.


The government also contends that Chern is connected to a Lithuanian mob called the "Little Doctors," one of the most powerful gangs in the city of Kaunas.