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Professor freed on museum theft charges

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Nov 14, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A professor at Russia's St. Petersburg State University has been released after being held since August in the theft of artifacts from the Hermitage Museum.

All charges against Ivan Sobolev, who had been kept in a pre-trial detention facility after artifacts worth about $5 million were taken from the world famous museum, reports Moscow Times.

Police were quoted as saying the history professor had been implicated only in thefts that occurred before 1995 and that the 10-year statute of limitations had expired. No other details about the case were available.

The report said an inventory at the museum had shown that 221 items had gone missing, but 30 were returned by collectors and antique dealers.

Two other suspects in the case were the son and husband of the late curator of the museum. The son has since been released but the husband remains in police custody, the report said.


Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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