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YELTSIN AIDE TO FACE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

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Russia's hard-line parliament voted Friday to open a criminal case against one of President Boris Yeltsin's top aides, the first such action in a widening investigation of high-level corruption.

The case against First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko was launched one day after prosecutors seized documents from the office of another leading Yeltsin adviser, Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Pol-tor-a-nin."These are efforts to remove political rivals," Shumeiko's spokesman, Grigory Bukhvalov, said in an echo of Yeltsin's charges that parliament is playing politics.

The corruption allegations were first made by Vice President Alexander Rutskoi before an April referendum on Yeltsin's rule. Rutskoi said he gave prosecutors 11 suitcases full of evidence of high-level crimes.

In late June, the prosecutor's office reported to parliament that it had substantiated accusations of corruption by Shumeiko, Pol-tor-a-nin and others.

Shumeiko responded by saying he would sue for slander - a threat he repeated Thursday night on television.

He is accused of helping companies obtain illegal state contracts and real estate that allegedly cost the government millions of dollars.

No charges have been filed. But Friday, the Supreme Soviet, dominated by former communists, voted 158-10 with 8 abstentions to approve a petition by Prosecutor General Valentin Stepankov to start the investigation.

Yeltsin, conducting his own investigation of official corruption, accused parliament in June of leveling accusations against Shum-eiko and Poltoranin to derail work on a draft constitution that would unseat the lawmakers.

Yeltsin's opponents have accused Poltoranin of taking personal control and profit from the Berlin Friendship House, a former Soviet cultural center in East Berlin, through his agency, the Federal Information Center.