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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Judge Delays Konyakhin Graft Trial

KEMEROVO, Western Siberia -- A local court Monday began the trial of Leninsk-Kuznetsky Mayor Gennady Konyakhin, charged with embezzlement and tax fraud, but put off the hearing due to a protest by the defendant's lawyer and the absence of a suspected accomplice, Interfax reported.

Monday's court session lasted no more than 20 minutes, as long as the court of Leninsk-Kuznetsky, a town in Russia's Kemerovo region, needed to hear a protest by Konyakhin's counsel for the defense.

The attorney said he had not read the case records and asked for a postponement, court sources were quoted by Interfax as saying.

The court postponed the hearing until Aug. 5.

Konyakhin has been in jail awaiting trial for eight months. His supporters claim the delay is a sign that there is no hard evidence of criminal impropriety against him.