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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Greece Agrees to Extradition




ATHENS, Greece -- A Greek court has agreed to a Russian request to extradite a jewelry merchant accused of embezzling a fortune in gems from a government consortium.


Greek authorities arrested 38-year-old Andrei Kozlyonok, wanted by Russian authorities for four years, in early January on an international warrant at Athens airport after he arrived on a flight from Brussels, Belgium.


He is suspected of playing a key role in the embezzlement of more than $183 million in gold, diamonds and silver after making a fraudulent jewelry production contract with Russia's Committee on Precious Metals and Gems on behalf of a San Francisco-based company, Golden ADA Inc.


In 1995, the Russian government filed a $150 million lawsuit in San Francisco alleging that Golden ADA never paid for gems and precious metals it received from the Russian consortium in 1993 and 1994.


The Russian government claims Golden ADA sold the metals and gems without permission and used the money to bankroll a buying spree that included property, yachts, luxury cars and a mansion.


Kozlyonok claimed Russian officials had attempted to wrest his business away from him because he had refused to cooperate with them, alleging they kidnapped his son and blackmailed him into giving over a large part of his company's shares.


He denied embezzling the gems.


Kozlyonok has the right to appeal to Greece's supreme court against Thursday's extradition decision.