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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prosecutor:VAZ Execs Will Soon Be Indicted

With the legal assault on Yukos -- and now its merger partner Sibneft -- charging full steam ahead, the years-long investigation of alleged misdeeds by executives at another industry leader had all but been forgotten.

But Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov changed all that Tuesday, saying his office will file criminal charges against "a number of top managers" at AvtoVAZ either in late November or early December. He declined to name specific individuals or even the suspected crimes.

Nonetheless, AvtoVAZ shares tumbled nearly 6 percent on the news.

It also was unclear whether Kolesnikov was referring to new cases or to a number of ongoing cases involving the automaker, which operates out of a sprawling complex in the Samara region town of Tolyatti.

The prosecutor's office refused to elaborate on Kolesnikov's remarks.

A spokesman for AvtoVAZ, however, said the company was unaware of any new investigations and Kolesnikov was probably referring to the ongoing investigations related to Boris Berezovsky, who fled Russia in 2000 and has lived in London ever since. Last year Berezovsky and his former business partners, Badri Patarkatsishvili and Yury Dubov, were charged with stealing 2,033 cars worth a total of $13 million from AvtoVAZ in 1994 and 1995 through their company, LogoVAZ. At the time LogoVAZ was AvtoVAZ's official dealer.

Britain has since granted both Berezovsky and Dubov political asylum, while Patarkatsishvili has been living in Georgia.

Kolesnikov said Tuesday that several top officials in Samara are also being investigated "in connection with cases involving theft at VAZ and abuse of office," and that "a number of administration heads of various municipalities in the region have already been indicted."

Again, however, he declined to elaborate.

Lyudmila Takayeva, spokeswoman for Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, said she was unaware of any indictments.