Children smugglers sentenced

The Regional Court of Volgograd, Volga area, has pronounced its sentence on Italy's Nadezhda Fratti and three officials that figured in the case of smuggling of Russian children abroad. All of them received conditional sentences of three to seven years in prison.

Nadezhda Fratti was found guilty of forging documents and bribing Antonina Tekucheva, the head physician of the Mikhailovsky Children's home, Tatiana Chaplina, the ex-Director of the Kirovsky Children's Home, and Valentina Gerusova, an ex-specialist with the regional Education Committee, into speeding up the adoption of children.

Fratti had turned up in the Volgograd region in 1993 as a spokesperson for the international adoption association Arcobaleno. Gerusova, Chaplina and Tekucheva had been bribed with places in a tourist group travelling to the Mediterranean into helping her set up a system in Volgograd specializing in adoption of children and their smuggling to Italy. According to materials of the case, 558 children had been smuggled out of the Volgograd region between 1993 and January 2001.

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