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Russian court backs Mabetex head in libel case

The head of the Swiss company which is embroiled in corruption allegations against the Kremlin, Behgjet Pacolli, has won his libel court case after a Russian judge ruled in his favour.

The Basmanny district court in Moscow on Tuesday ordered the former Prosecutor-General, Yuri Skuatov, to pay $185 to Pacolli, the head of the Mabetex construction firm, for comments he made in a weekly publication.

In Argumenty I Fakty, Skuratov accused Pacolli of selling Russian weapons to the Kosovo Liberation Army, and of paying $9 million in bribes to Kremlin officials to receive contracts to renovate government buildings.

"I am very happy," Pacolli said after the court's decision. "Just in time for my birthday."

Skuratov's lawyers said the judge had made procedural errors and that they planned to file an appeal.

On July 5, Russian prosecutors extended by three months a probe into whether Mabetex paid kickbacks to former Kremlin property manager, Pavel Borodin, and other officials to win a contract.

A judge in Switzerland has charged Pacolli and issued a warrant for Borodin's arrest. Both men deny they did anything wrong.

swissinfo with agencies

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