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Russia outraged by fraud charges against diplomats

MOSCOW -- Russia voiced outrage Friday at charges in the United States against 49 current and former Russian diplomats and their wives over a US$1.5 million fraud, saying it could not understand why the U.S. had gone public with the allegations.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement to Russian news agencies that Moscow had many claims against the behavior of U.S. diplomats in Moscow but had preferred not to bring them into the public sphere.

“We categorically reject the charges against the staff of Russian diplomatic institutions in the United States,” he was quoted as saying by the ITAR-TASS news agency, saying it was “illegal” for diplomats to have been watched by the authorities in this way.

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