French Court Starts Proceedings On Extradition Of Russian Businessman Mikhail Zhivilo

The first session of the French court to consider the issue of Russian businessman Mikhail Zhivilo's extradition is scheduled for May 16 at the Paris Palace of Justice. Judge Michel Azibert made this decision at a Wednesday court session where the issue of Mikhail Zhivilo's extradition to the Russian justice was discussed. In the course of the session Michel Azibert asked Mikhail Zhivilo if he wants to be extradited to the Russian justice. The businessman answered negatively. After a number of questions the judge declared the decision to hold the first session on Mikhail Zhivilo's extradition case on May 16. Zhivilo was brought from the court to a Paris prison called Sante. Three lawyers of the businessman reported that the extradition procedure might take up to 3 years. Mikhail Zhivilo himself asked for territorial asylum in France, but this issue cannot be considered until the end of the investigation. Head of the MIKOM group of companies, Mikhail Zhivilo, is accused of plotting an attempt of assassination on the former governor of the Kemerovo Region Aman Tuleyev. The Kemerovo Prosecutor's Office investigating the case brought Zhivilo an accusation in absentio and chose arrest as preventive punishment. Zhivilo who left Russia in September 2000, was wanted by the Interpol on charges of being involved in an organized criminal group activity. Olympic champion Alexander Tikhonov and his younger brother Viktor are also brought to trial as the accused. They are brought an accusation in compliance with Article 277 of the Russian Penal Code ("An attempt on life of a state or public figure"), that envisages imprisonment from 12 to 20 years or life imprisonment. Now they get acquainted with the criminal case materials. The officials of the FSS Department for the Novosibirsk Region (West Siberia) said that the criminal case materials comprise over 10 volumes. All proofs of brothers Tikhonovs' being involved in an attempt on life of Aman Tuleyev have been collected there, say FSS officials. A criminal case against Mikhail Zhivilo stands separate, for the issue of his extradition to Russia from France where he was detained late in February has not been settled yet.

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