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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ustinov Says Prosecutors Are Limiting Number of Warrants

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov said Saturday that his office is limiting the number of arrest warrants it issues to prevent the further overcrowding of jails.

"Bearing in mind the strained situation in the Russian penitentiary system we have been trying to avoid arrests," Ustinov was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying Saturday, which was officially Prosecutor's Day.

President Vladimir Putin, who met with Ustinov on Saturday, praised the "the role of the prosecutor's office as a tool for securing the interests of the state and as the agency responsible for the effective functioning of the whole system of state institutions, a role that not only remains but is becoming more obvious," presidential spokesman Alexei Gromov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Ustinov said that prosecutors issued 392,500 arrest warrants in the 3.38 million criminal cases they handled last year, according to Itar-Tass. They threw out about 310,000 unlawfully initiated criminal cases.

On Friday, the prosecutor's office reviewed some of their high-profile cases. Ustinov said Friday that Boris Berezovsky, who is being investigated for allegedly helping defraud the state of millions of dollars in taxes from Aeroflot, is now wanted for questioning and an investigation is continuing into Media-MOST founder Vladimir Gusinsky, Ustinov said.

"We have not forgotten anybody or anything," he told Interfax.

Both Gusinsky and Berezovsky are living abroad.

Ustinov's adviser, Vladimir Kolesnikov, said Friday that a review begun a day earlier into the pre-Kremlin business activities of presidential chief of staff Alexander Voloshin would be turned into a criminal investigation if any wrongdoing was uncovered.

Ustinov hinted that recently ousted Railways Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko could face new charges. Aksyonenko has been charged with abuse of office for allegedly misspending about $2 million. "The improper use of funds is only one of the things being investigated," he said.