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Russia opens fraud investigation against former PM

[JURIST] Fomer Russian prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov [MosNews profile] is being investigated by Russia's Prosecutor General for fraud and abuse of trust, according to Russian media reports Monday. Kasyanov is suspected of buying a $100 million country home and another real estate parcel at a fraction of their cost. He said he is "ready to provide every assistance to the investigation" [Itar-Tass report] and denied acquiring property fraudulently [RIA Novosti report]. The investigation was launched in response to allegations by member of the Duma [MosNews report], Russia's lower house. If Kasyanov is charged, he would be the highest-ranking Russian government official to go on trial since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kasyanov is considering running for president when Vladimir Putin's term expires in 2008. Bloomberg has more.

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