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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stankevich Claims He Is Innocent Victim

Sergei Stankevich, a former presidential adviser who Russia is seeking to extradite from Poland on bribery allegations, is the innocent victim of a Kremlin effort to lend credibility to its anti-corruption campaign, his lawyer said Tuesday.

"Someone proclaimed another war on corruption, and now they have to create the illusion that the campaign is successful," Vladimir Makeyev told reporters.

Stankevich is charged with accepting a $10,000 bribe to help organize a Red Square concert in 1992, when he was Moscow's deputy mayor.

He moved to Poland shortly after losing his diplomatic immunity when he was voted out of the State Duma in the December 1995 parliamentary elections.

Makeyev said Stankevich was paid $10,000 by an English public relations firm, as the Moscow Prosecutor's Office contends. But the lawyer said the money was an appearance fee for a series of lectures Stankevich gave in London.

Makeyev said Stankevich wants to clear his reputation in a Russian court, but he is willing to return to Moscow only if the prosecutor agrees that he can stay out of jail during the investigation.

Stankevich was not in hiding at the time of his arrest by Polish police, Makeyev said, nor did he have plastic surgery and grow a long beard, as some Moscow media have reported.

"Stankevich has a very trim beard. He looks nothing like Karl Marx," Makeyev said.