"Konanykhine's deportation order stopped"
The Winchester Star
August 4, 1997
A deportation order against a Russian millionaire accused of embezzling money from a Moscow bank has been dropped.
Alexandre P. Konanykhine (Koh-nen-EE-kin), who was held at the Regional Jail in Frederick County for most of the 13-month period he was imprisoned by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said his appeal of the deportation order was scheduled to be heard lase week.
The news that INS will abandon the deportation order follows Konanykhine's release from jail July 24 after his attorneys argued during habeas corpus proceedings that he had been unfairly accused of a crime, "illegally arrested and detained," and "that the INS committed a number of unlawful and criminal acts" to keep him in jail.
Konanykhine, 30, was allowed to return to his Washington, D.C., apartment with a monitoring bracelet after a former Immigration and Naturalization Service prosecutor and a Soviet KGB agent testified in the federal court hearing in Alexandria that they had serious doubts about the case against him.
Konanykhine said he is scheduled to meet with INS officials this week to discuss a settlement in the case.
"It's very exciting news just because it means the deportation order .. just doesn't exist any longer. I'm very confident and optimistic that, yes, it is behind me," Konanykhine said in a phone interview from his home Friday. "I proved all accusations against me were fraudulent....Finally, I know that the (court) system works."
"There is no assurance that no false accusations will be created. I just hope they won't be created."
Konanykhine has said since he and his wife, Elena Gratcheva, were arrested in July of 1996 on charges that they lied on their visa renewal forms that he will be killed if he is returned to his native Russia because he campaigned against corruption and KGB-organized crime.
An immigration judge based in Northern Virginia denied Konanykhine's request for political asylum in September 1996. Because there is no extradition treaty between Russia and the United States, the judge ordered Konanykhine and his wife be deported.
"At some point of time, (my future) was very grim," he said. "I was just afraid with all the evidence, I wouldn't be able to get the attention of any decision makers...It was a long year."
Now he will be attempting to get financial compensation for what happened during that year, he said.
Since his arrest, he accrued legal bills of more than $500,000, he lost his job, he lost his property, and the company he was working for was dismantled, he said.
"They ruined my finances and they seriously damaged the businesses I was involved in," he said.
Even worse, he said, his reputation has been damaged.
"I think I was put in jail wrongly in the first place because I have never violated any law in Russia or the United States."