July 19, 2019 / 8:52 AM / a year ago

Russian tainted oil suspect seeking political asylum in Lithuania

VILNIUS (Reuters) - Roman Ruzhechko, a suspect in a Russian probe into a major oil pipeline contamination earlier this year, has asked for political asylum in Lithuania, a Vilnius district court spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

Russian prosecutors have charged Ruzhechko, an executive at a small oil transport firm, and several other people in a criminal conspiracy to pollute the network, which is owned and operated by the country’s oil pipeline monopoly Transneft.

A lawyer for Ruzhechko has said there was nothing in the prosecutors’ files that proved his client’s guilt.

The Vilnius district court this week authorized a three-month detention of Ruzhechko at the request of Lithuanian prosecutors, the court spokesman said.

Reporting by Andruis Sytas; Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Jan Harvey

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