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22 Oct, 2007 23:29

Ex-Russian diplomat sent to prison in U.S.

Four years behind bars is what a former Russian UN diplomat can look forward to, after being locked up Monday for laundering more than $US 300,000 while working in New York.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, who was once Chairman of the UN Budget Oversight Committee, was caught by a fellow UN worker, Aleksandr Yakovlev.

Yakovlev was arrested in 2005 on charges of bribes and money laundering, and testified against Kuznetsov as part of a plea bargain.

Kuznetsov pleaded not guilty and says he will appeal against the court ruling within a month.

Russia may appeal to the U.S. to extradite Vladimir Kuznetsov as it has recently ratified an international extradition treaty. However, Mr Kuznetsov doesn't believe that the extradition is possible.

“Extradition was discussed but Russia doesn’t have a bilateral agreement on extradition with the U.S. so far as I understand. It’s more of a theory rather than an actual implementation. Of course, I want to go home to Russia,” he said.

To watch Russia Today's interview with Vladimir Kuznetsov in his final few hours of freedom, please, follow the link.