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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Governor Accused of Pressing Court

The head of the Primorye arbitration court accused regional Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko on Thursday of putting pressure on the court and trying to intimidate the judges.

Tatyana Loktyonova said the conflict in the Far East region between the court and the governor's office, which began two years ago, has gotten so bad that she and the other judges now fear for their safety.

"Judges are afraid to come to their office," Loktyonova said at a news conference in Moscow.

"One of the judges had her apartment unlawfully searched yesterday [Wednesday]. She was searching through it half a day afterward - what if something was planted there! It is all so horrible!" she said.

Loktyonova said she sent her young daughter away from Vladivostok last year and this summer she sent her older son away too.

"Because simply I am afraid," she said.

In the latest incident, three weeks ago, she said someone in a police

uniform approached her husband

in the street and said that he must

be imprisoned "for at least a few hours." The threat has not been carried out.

Nazdratenko, who is now in Moscow, was not available for comment Thursday and none of his representatives returned calls.

The Primorye regional administration has accused the arbitration court of causing the destruction of the local economy because of its role in bankrupting local enterprises.

Loktyonova said that her court has followed the law.

Earlier this month, Loktyonova said, her court filed complaints to

President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin and then acting Prosecutor General Yury Chaika asking for protection from the interference of Nazdratenko into the court's affairs.

In the complaint to Stepashin, she wrote that the situation had worsened recently because police, under orders from Nazdratenko, were fabricating criminal cases against her and members of her family.

Loktyonova said she has received no replies yet from the federal authorities.

Nazdratenko asked the Primorye regional court to investigate Loktyonova's claims that he's putting pressure on the arbitration court, his spokeswoman Natalya Vstovskaya said in a statement last week.

The governor feels that the court must not only follow the letter of the law in bankruptcy cases, but must protect the state's interests by preventing the ruin of the region's industry, the statement said.

The arbitration court, which now has 300 bankruptcy cases before it, sees the region's economic troubles differently.

The reason for the huge number

of bankruptcies in the region, Loktyonova said, is severe violations of the law in the privatization of local enterprises.

"Enterprises were privatized in the interests of a small group of people, and control over privatization was conducted by the regional administration's property committee," she said.

"I believe the reason for this attack is to pass the responsibility for the collapse of the regional economy in the past few years to the arbitration court," Loktyonova said.

Nazdratenko was quoted in the June 8 issue of a local Vladi-

vostok newspaper as saying that he would protect the Pervoye Maya fishing company from arbitration managers approved by the arbitration court.

The company has accumulated 36 million rubles ($1.6 million) in debts to the state budget and the pension fund.

Nazdratenko said he "would protect with force every Primorye region enterprise from the entrance and actions of so-called teams of the arbitration management that are ruining enterprises.

"As for Pervoye Maya, the law-enforcement bodies have received orders not to fulfill the orders on the sales of the fleet. Maybe it is not a very lawful decision on my part, but I believe, in three or four years, life will confirm that it was correct," he was quoted as saying.

Loktyonova said that the police established a checkpoint at Pervoye Maya and did not allow the arbi-

tration manager, appointed by creditors, to get to the enterprise for two weeks.

Nazdratenko has developed a reputation for the intimidation of foreign investors.

In June, he demanded that Andrew Fox, an honorary British consul and director at the Far Eastern Shipping Co., the biggest shipping firm in Russia, give the regional administration shares that belonged to foreign investors and support the election of Nazdratenko's man as board director or face imprisonment.