Borodin indicted in Switzerland on money-laundering charges

Pavel Borodin's lawyers, Robert Assael (left) and Dominique Poncet answer questions outside the Geneva courts on April 7 Keystone

A former Kremlin aide, Pavel Borodin, has been indicted on charges of money laundering after his arrival in Switzerland following extradition from the United States.

This content was published on April 7, 2001 - 18:48

The ex-presidential advisor arrived in Geneva on Saturday aboard a scheduled Swissair flight from New York.

Borodin was taken directly to Champ Dollon prison before being escorted to Geneva's Palace of Justice, where he appeared before the investigating prosecutor, Daniel Devaud.

Devaud formally indicted Borodin on money laundering charges and with belonging to a criminal organisation. Immediately following the indictment, Borodin was taken back to his prison cell.

Outside the Geneva courtroom, Dominique Poncet, a member of Borodin's defence team, told waiting journalists his client denied all charges brought against him.

"We totally reject all the charges," Poncet said, "and consider that the Swiss authorities have absolutely no competence in this affair."

Borodin's legal team also confirmed they would apply next Tuesday or Thursday for their client to be released on bail.

The former Kremlin advisor last week dropped his opposition to an international arrest warrant filed by Switzerland, and agreed to come to Geneva, saying he wanted to clear his name of the corruption charges.

US authorities arrested Borodin at a New York airport in January on suspicion of receiving and laundering kickbacks paid by Swiss companies in return for lucrative building contracts at the Kremlin. He has denied the charges.

The Russian foreign ministry released a statement following Borodin's arrival in Switzerland calling on the authorities to exact a "fair trial".

"Above all it is crucial," read the statement, "that the trial does not become a political affair."

In an interview carried by Russian state media, Borodin said he wanted to prove his innocence in the US. "But when I realised that the case being dealt with here was way outside the legal realm, and [rather] in the political sphere, I took my decision [to go to Switzerland]."

"Dozens of supervisory bodies checked me out for years in Russia and no wrongdoing was ever uncovered," Borodin added.

The federal prosecutor in Geneva, Bernard Bertossa, said that he hoped for a speedy trial. Bertossa alleges that Borodin and close aides received and laundered up to $30 million in kickbacks from three contracts worth nearly $500 million which were awarded to two Swiss construction firms.

The canton Ticino-based companies, Mabetex and Mercata, have rejected the accusations.

swissinfo with agencies

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