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Moscow opposed Nevzlin meeting U.S. Congressmen

MOSCOW, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - Despite Moscow's efforts to prevent the meeting, Leonid Nevzlin reported to the Helsinki Commission of the U.S. Congress on the political and economic impact of the Yukos case, the influential business daily Kommersant reported, Thursday.

Nevzlin, the owner of Group MENATEP (the main Yukos shareholder) had been placed by Russia on the international wanted list.

This is Nevzlin's second visit to the U.S. this month. According to a source close to the U.S. government, the Russian Foreign Ministry did everything it could to prevent Nevzlin's visit. The Kremlin was outraged that Nevzlin had been given an entry visa to the U.S. and would be able to address Congress. The source said that Moscow had wanted to know why Washington was risking the positive relations between Putin and Bush.

The Russian Embassy in the U.S. confirmed that Moscow and Washington are in dispute over Nevzlin. On Tuesday Russia demanded that the U.S. State Department extradite Nevzlin in view of the serious charges brought against him.

The source said that Nevzlin's visit to America signaled to Vladimir Putin that his treatment of Yukos and the ex-premier Mikhail Kasyanov, who is the subject of a criminal investigation, is not acceptable to the U.S. and that such actions may have negative consequences.

According to the source, in addition to addressing the Helsinki Commission, Nevzlin also held a series of important meetings in Washington.

The Israeli press reported that Nevzlin visited the U.S. in part because he wanted to take up permanent residence there, but the U.S. State Department did not confirm this information.