Germany extradited "cocaine case" defendant Kovalchuk to Russia

Germany extradited "cocaine case" defendant Kovalchuk to Russia
Discovered suitcases with cocaine

The businessman has been in Matrosskaya Tishina prison since Friday.

Entrepreneur Andrey Kovalchuk, who is accused in Russia of smuggling almost 400 kg of cocaine from Argentina to Russia through diplomatic channels, has been convoyed from Germany to Russia, RBC reports referring to his lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov.

According to the human rights defender, his client was taken to Russia by plane last Friday.

"To be frank, he is in shock. He was accompanied by four employees. In the morning he was taken out of the cell and extradited," Zherebenkov said.

He added that today, July 30, Kovalchuk was charged under Art. 229.1 of the Criminal Code (Smuggling Narcotic Agents). So far, the businessman has been placed in a special unit of Matrosskaya Tishina, which is also called the Kremlin Central. Other defendants of the 'Cocaine case' are also kept there.

To recap, Kovalchuk was detained in Germany in March at the request of Russia. The next day he was placed in Moabit prison in Berlin. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office sent a request to their German counterparts to extradite Kovalchuk. It was assumed that between August and September it would be considered by the Berlin Superior Court.

"German lawyers are shocked: 6 [July] they received a notification that Kovalchuk can be extradited to Russia without trial. But the appeal period is a month. His German lawyer Alexander Hamburg had the right to appeal this decision until August 6, this week they were going to file a complaint. We cannot understand why they extradited him before the expiration of this period," clarified Zherebenkov, adding that Kovalchuk will so far refrain from testifying.

The so-called "cocaine case" became known in February when the Argentine authorities told about the discovery of 389 kg of cocaine on the territory of the school at the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires.

The Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia believes that cocaine belonged to Kovalchuk, who, through Russian accomplices, plotted to resell it in Europe in the future.

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