A former Kremlin aide, Pavel Borodin, has appeared before a Geneva judge to answer charges of money laundering. He arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday after speculation he would not return from Russia to face his accusers.This content was published on May 17, 2001 - 10:19
Borodin spent the night at Russia's UN mission ahead of his court appearance before the Geneva judge, Daniel Devaud.
Borodin is alleged to have received kickbacks from two Swiss companies, Mercata and Mabetex, in return for lucrative renovation contracts at the Kremlin. Both he and the companies have denied any wrongdoing.
Borodin has been joined at the hearing, which is being held behind closed doors, by four other people.
Beghjet Pacolli, the head of Mabetex, one of the two Swiss companies Borodin is suspected of accepting money from, has been summoned, along with two asset managers and a Geneva lawyer.
Borodin spent a week in custody in Switzerland in April, following his extradition from the United States, but was then allowed to leave on SFr5 million ($2.85 million) bail pending a new heaing. There had been speculation he might not return for the court hearing.
Dominique Poncet, Borodin's lawyer, told swissinfo that he believed his client, who refused to answer any questions posed by Devaud at a hearing in April, would remain silent once again.
"He does not see why he should answer any questions when there is no case to answer," explained Poncet.
Borodin was extradited to Switzerland at the beginning of April to face questions about the disappearance of $25 million.
The Geneva authorities believe the cash came from the two Swiss construction companies in exchange for the Kremlin renovation contracts.
The Russian authorities dropped their own inquiry last year, saying they had insufficient evidence to proceed.
swissinfo with agencies
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