Source Pravda.Ru

Olympic champ wanted for governor murder plot, brother convicted

Victor Tikhonov was sentenced to four years in maximum-security prison for plotting to murder Aman Tuleyev, Kemerovo regional governor. Olympic biathlon champion Alexander Tikhonov, the convict's elder brother and suspected accomplice, will shortly appear on the international list of wanted criminals, Gennadi Popov, top prosecutor for the Novosibirsk Region, said to newsmen after the verdict was announced.

Mr. Popov expects the police again to demand Mikhail Zhivilo's extradition from colleagues in France. Suspected of masterminding the murder plot, the Metallurgy Investment Co. president has been on the "wanted" list for two years. He was detained in Paris on an Interpol warrant, February 2001. The French court gave him the benefit of the doubt to shelf the extradition demand and release the prosperous Russian entrepreneur.

Alexander Tikhonov left Russia for medical treatment last summer, and has never returned to Novosibirsk, where his case is under investigation. He does not intend to go back to Russia in the near future, the controversial athlete said to Russian mediamen.

Investigation on his and Zhivilo's cases has been suspended. It is up to the federal Prosecutor-General to decide whether to start search for Alexander Tikhonov and apply for Zhivilo's extradition.

Victor Tikhonov was the first to appear in the dock on the plot, which was thwarted early in 2000. His lawyers are determined to appeal to the federal Supreme Court against the verdict, so his sentence will not enter into force before the Supreme Court examines the issue, says Gennadi Popov, who was councillor for the prosecution in the hearings finished today.

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