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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Ex-Judges Handed Lengthy Sentences

Itar-TassFormer judges Savelyuk, left, Mishina and Ivchenko standing in the Supreme Court for their sentencing on Monday.
The Supreme Court on Monday sentenced three former federal judges to prison terms of 11 to 14 years for expropriating 71 Moscow apartments in the late 1990s.

The court gave 14 years to Nina Ivchenko, a former deputy chief judge at the Butyrsky District Court; 12 years to Vasily Savelyuk, a former judge at the same court; and 11 years to Nina Mishina, a former judge at the Babushkinsky District Court.

The Supreme Court last week found the three guilty of fraud, being members of a criminal gang and of abusing their positions by stealing the apartments of owners who had died but left no will or legal instructions for transferring their property to relatives.

It took Supreme Court Judge Nikolai Lavrov six days to read the full text of the verdict. In handing down the sentences Monday, Lavrov said the defendants committed grave crimes that "undermined the authority of the power of the court" and deserved no leniency, Interfax reported.

The three were immediately taken into custody, Interax said.

Prosecutors had asked for a 15-year prison sentence for Ivchenko, 12 1/2 years for Savelyuk and 12 years for Mishina. Ivchenko had admitted her guilt, while Savelyuk and Mishina maintained their innocence.

Alexander Morozov, a lawyer for Savelyuk and Mishina, said he would appeal, while Ivchenko's lawyer, Boris Skobelev, said he would seek a lighter sentence for his client, Interfax reported.

The court found that the judges had illegally authorized the transfer of at least 71 apartments, worth $2.5 million, to associates. Prosecutors had said that the three stole more than 100 apartments, worth more than $5 million.

Investigators said the three judges teamed up in 1996 or 1997 with businessmam Alexei Yevstafyev, who has been convicted of falsifying documents in which relatives of the deceased owners gave up their rights to the apartments. The judges then confirmed the documents for fees of $3,000 to $5,000 per apartment.

Yevstafyev is now serving a 12-year prison sentence for fraud.