Cocaine case defendant’s lawyer to be interrogated
Kovalchuk is under arrest in Germany.
The Russian defender of Andrey Kovalchuk, the alleged organizer of smuggling of about 400 kg of cocaine from Argentina to Russia, Vladimir Zherebenkov, was summoned to the investigator for filing accusation to the defendant. Kovalchuk is under arrest in Germany and is waiting for a decision over his extradition. Kommersant reports referring to the lawyer.
At the same time, he has lack information about the extradition of the defendant from Germany. The investigator's call was completely unexpected for Zherebenkov because recently there have been no reports from Germany. "There were also no appointments for court hearings, so I took a vacation," he said.
The edition notes that the defender stopped short of holidays to attend the investigative actions. International law allows for voluntary extradition if the person involved agrees.
The Cocaine case was initiated in February. Law enforcement agencies of Russia and Argentina reported the detection of cocaine supply in the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires. Drugs were hidden on the school grounds, and the director found it. 389 kg of cocaine was found.
Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich stated that the country's law enforcement agencies then carried out an operation during which six people were arrested: three alleged accomplices of smugglers in Russia (Ali Abyanov, ex-manager of the diplomatic mission, businessmen Vladimir Kalmykov and Ishtimir Khudzhamov), and two - in Argentina (policeman from Buenos Aires Ivan Bliznyuk and mechanic Alexander Chicalo). Andrey Kovalchuk was detained in Germany. Kovalchuk may face life imprisonment in Russia.
The Russian Prosecutor General's Office requested his extradition on March 29, but this is not possible under the laws of Germany. According to the lawyer, the criminal code of Germany persecutes the illegal distribution of drugs, including outside the country, so the process in the case of the businessman may be held in Germany. In late June, Kovalchuk announced his readiness to appear before the German investigation and the court, stating that a fair trial is possible only in this country. Another argument in favor of Germany is the "catastrophic" detention conditions in the Russian pre-trial detention centers.
Initially, the defendants in the case had been charged with embezzlement through swindling in the amount of 225 million rubles ($3.3 million). In the final version of the indictment, the article was changed to 1.5-billion-ruble ($22.45 million) embezzlement.