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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Accused of Extorting Spitzer Arrested

MANHATTAN (CN) — The Russian woman accused of extorting former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer with false charges of assault was arrested upon landing in New York City, Bronx prosecutors confirmed on Tuesday.

Svetlana Zakharova, 26, will be presented in Manhattan Criminal Court sometime this afternoon, but the Bronx District Attorney's Office will prosecute her to avoid a conflict of interest. The seven felony charges include several counts of grand larceny and forgery.

Zakharova made allegations this past February that the ex-governor, whom she had dated, had choked her inside a $1,000-a-night suite of the storied Plaza Hotel next to Central Park.

Spitzer and his wife divorced about five years after a 2008 prostitution scandal forced the then governor to resign. The Democrat had been in office just 14 months, after six promising years as state attorney general.

In a lawsuit against Zakharova in July, Spitzer said his paramour fled to Moscow shortly after concocting the allegations against him, enraged over their breakup and being cut off financially.

Adam Kaufmann, an attorney for Spitzer with Lewis Baach, did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment on Zakharova's arrest.

The New York Post's reporting on Spitzer's hotel drama from February says police responding to a 911 call found Spitzer at the door and Zakharova with a cut wrist.

"Everything's fine," Spitzer reportedly told police. "There's no problem."

Spitzer's lawsuit says Zakharova, who is also known as Lana Travis, recanted her allegations and apologized to him.

It also says that, before this episode, the woman threatened Spitzer in emails, voicemails and recorded phone calls, promising to "make up bullshit about him" if he did not give her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Bronx District Attorney's office confirmed that Zakharova was arrested last night upon arrival at an unspecified New York airport, but provided no guidance as to when she will face a judge.

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