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Spain to extradite Mauritanian shipping fraud suspect to Moscow

MOSCOW, August 27 (RIA Novosti) - A Mauritanian national accused of illegally seizing Russian fishing trawlers in Spain will be extradited to Russia following charges from both Moscow and the northeast African country, a Russian lawyer said.

The Spanish government "decided to hand over a Mauritanian citizen to Russia, for subsequent extradition to Mauritania", said Dmitry Afanasyev, a lawyer representing the Russian government in the case.

The suspect, Abass Bugurbal, who heads Mauritania's Societe de Promotion de la Peche (SPP), had been detained in 2006 by Spanish authorities on charges of appropriating three trawlers owned by Russia, but was then released on bail.

In 2004, the ships were seized in Mauritanian waters, following charges launched by SPP against the owner, Russia's Arkhangelsk Trawler Fleet. The Mauritanian claimed the Russian company owed it around $13 million.

The three trawlers had been illegally held in Mauritania on the basis of the documents later recognized as forged.

Investigators believe Bugurbal was aided by high-ranking Russian officials, the lawyer said.

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