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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Acting Prosecutor General Released From Prison

Former acting Prosecutor General Alexei Ilyushenko, charged with corruption and misuse of power, has been released from prison after the maximum two-year term for which defendants can be kept in custody expired.

The Prosecutor General's Office finished its investigation in December 1996, but officials have been unable to bring the case to court because Ilyushenko technically has not finished familiarizing himself with the evidence submitted against him.

Ilyushenko's attorney, Alexander Asnis, said because the prosecutor's office won't let the defendant photocopy documents, Ilyushenko has spent more than a year in his cell handcopying 34 of the 94 volumes of evidence.

"We will take as much time as necessary to precisely familiarize ourselves with the documents." Asnis said. "I think in another half a year, the case can go to court."

The prosecutor in charge of the case, Nikolai Yemelyanov, was not available for comment Monday afternoon.

Ilyushenko was released from Lefortovo Prison on Sunday. He is not allowed to leave Moscow without permission and must report to the prosecutor's office every weekday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to continue reviewing the evidence.

Yemelyanov alleges that Ilyushenko took a bribe from the head of the Balkar-Trading company, Pyotr Yanichev, who allegedly sold imported Jeeps to Ilyushenko's relatives at below-market prices. The prosecutor contends that in return, Ilyushenko helped Yanichev obtain licenses to import oil through Russia's Far East with tax concessions.

Yanichev and the chief accountant at Balkar-Trading, Valentina Asmanova, also were arrested. They were released in September after two years in custody and are expected to stand trial together with Ilyushenko when the case reaches court.

Interfax quoted Ilyushenko as saying he believes he is "victim of certain political forces that were interested in isolating him so as to evade criminal prosecution."

Ilyushenko was acting chief prosecutor from February 1994 to October 1995. Yeltsin removed Ilyushenko after parliament twice refused to confirm his appointment, condemning him as incompetent and corrupt.

Russian authorities on Monday freed from custody a former top military official suspected of large-scale corruption, The Associated Press reported.

General Konstantin Kobets was arrested in May and charged with taking a substantial bribe from a construction company in exchange for a military housing contact. Kobets has denied any wrongdoing.

A Moscow city court refused to free Kobets in December, and he has been hospitalized since January.

On Monday, the Prosecutor General's Office said it would release Kobets and place travel restrictions on him since his health is poor, Interfax reported.