Belarus Sentences U.S. Lawyer To Three Years In Prison

(RTTNews) - The Belarus Supreme Court announced Monday that Emanuel Zeltser, a citizen of the United States, has been sentenced to three years of prison for industrial espionage and use of forged documents. He is to serve the term in the standard regime penal colony.

The Soviet-born lawyer was arrested when he landed in Belarus March 12 and was accused of using forged documents. In late May, he was officially charged with possession and smuggling of drugs, and later with industrial spying. His secretary Vladlena Funk was also sentenced to a year in jail for illegally gathering commercial information and using forged documents.

The United States has expressed concern about his deteriorating health and alleged he has been denied proper medication for diabetes.

His brother, Mark Zeltser, has claimed that the arrest has been orchestrated over the assets of the late Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili. Zeltser had represented his step cousin in the case.

Zeltser emigrated in the 1970s and received his license to practice law in 1990. He was first noted for his exposure on a money laundering case carried out via the Bank of New York in the 1990s.



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