Vilnius court rules to extradite Yukos manager

  • 2005-09-10
VILNIUS 's A Vilnius district court ruled to extradite the former manager of the Stavropol branch of a Yukos-owned bank to Russia.

Igor Babenko is being accused of embezzling over 333 million rubles (100 million euros) by Russian prosecutors while heading the Menatep Sankt Peterburg bank, a subsidiary of the Yukos business concern.

Vilnius judges said they had obtained sufficient evidence from Russian Justice Ministry officials to assume that the suspect had been involved in criminal activities while in Russia.

Many Lithuanian politicians had warned the court about the possibility of trumped-up charges against Babenko given the Kremlin's drive to imprison top Yukos officials and dissemble the oil company piece by piece.

Babenko, 55, was detained in Vilnius on July 1, one day after Lithuania received Russia's request to arrest and extradite him.