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Belarusian court to try U.S. lawyer Zeltser on July 30

MINSK, July 21 (RIA Novosti) - The trial in Belarus of Emanuel Zeltser, a U.S. citizen charged with industrial espionage and drug smuggling, will start on July 30, the suspect's lawyer said Monday.

"The start of the trial is set for July 30. The process is expected to be held behind closed doors," Dmitry Goryachko said.

Soviet-born lawyer and financial expert Emanuel Zeltser was detained by the Belarusian security services along with his secretary on arrival in Belarus on March 12, and accused of using forged documents. In late May, Zeltser was officially charged with drug smuggling and possession, and later with industrial spying.

Born in the Soviet republic of Moldova, Zeltser emigrated in the 1970s and received his license to practice law in 1990.

He became known for exposing a Russian money laundering scheme carried out via the Bank of New York in the 1990s.

He was also a defense attorney for Pavel Borodin, the secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union State, who was arrested in New York on money laundering charges in 2001.

Zeltser's name recently appeared in the media in connection with a scandal over the estate of late Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, a former business partner of fugitive Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky.

After Patarkatsishvili died in February 2008, his estate became the center of a legal dispute between the Georgian businessman's wife, supported by Berezovsky, and Patarkatsishvili's distant cousin Joseph Kay, represented by Zeltser.

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