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Wanted Russian tycoon in the spotlight in London


LONDON, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian tycoon wanted in Russia on kidnapping and extortion charges attended a gala ballet performance at London's Convent Garden over the weekend.

Co-founder of Russian mobile phone retailer Euroset Yevgeny Chichvarkin, who was also reported to be on an international Interpol wanted list, appeared at ease during the interval of the performance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sergei Dyagilev's Russian Ballet Seasons at the Royal Opera House on Sunday.

The entrepreneur's appearance did not cause any excitement among the high-profile spectators, including Russians. However, Chichvarkin declined to make any comment to reporters.

"No, you must understand... No offence meant," he told a RIA Novosti correspondent.

The flamboyant entrepreneur known for his eccentric dress style, who wore a formal dark blue suit last night, attended a VIP supper after the performance along with Russian and foreign ballet stars.

A Russian court issued an arrest warrant for the businessman in late January on suspicion of involvement in the 2003 abduction of Euroset's shipping agent, who allegedly had stolen large quantities of mobile phones from the firm, and the extortion of money from him. The charges were brought as part of a case against the former Euroset vice president and two other company officials.

Interpol, which was reported to have put Chichvarkin on its wanted list at Russia's request in March, said it was still waiting for Britain to formally confirm that the businessman is living in the country.

Britain harbors a number of Russian fugitive billionaires, entrepreneurs, and Chechen separatist emissaries, some of who enjoy British citizenship or have political asylum. Moscow has unsuccessfully sought their extradition.

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