A Russian court has ordered opposition presidential hopeful and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov to return his country residence to the government.

A Moscow court Friday ordered Mr. Kasyanov to turn over the luxury home, or "dacha," to the Federal Property Agency because he purchased it illegally. Defense attorneys say they plan to appeal the ruling.

Authorities last year investigated Mr. Kasyanov's purchase of the dacha, but he was not indicted.

The former prime minister says the allegations against him are unfounded, and politically motivated.

Mr. Kasyanov served four years as Russian prime minister until President Vladimir Putin fired him in 2004. He has announced plans to run for the Russian presidency in 2008 when a successor to Mr. Putin will be chosen.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.