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Borodin makes fifth appearance before Geneva judge

Borodin again refused to answer investigating judge Devaud's questions


The former senior Kremlin official, Pavel Borodin, has again appeared before a Geneva judge to face questions about his alleged role in the laundering of $25 million (SFr45 million) in kickbacks from two Swiss companies.

It was Borodin's fifth meeting with investigating magistrate Daniel Devaud since he was released on SFr5 million bail in April.

Just as in the previous hearings, the Russian refused to answer Devaud's questions. "He used his constitutional right to silence," said Robert Assael, one of Borodin's Swiss legal team, after his second hearing on June 11. "He simply replied that he would not reply. This is a matter of principle."

Assael, said that his client would again appear in court on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

The Swiss authorities have charged Borodin with laundering kickbacks in exchange for Kremlin construction projects. Two companies based in canton Ticino, Mabatex and Mercata, are accused of paying the Russian $30 million (SFr54 million) in bribes.

Prosecutors in Moscow dropped their case against Borodin in December.

The former property manager was arrested in New York in January on Swiss warrant, just as he was on his way to George W. Bush's presidential inauguration. After being denied bail, he agreed to be sent to Switzerland in April.

A Geneva court soon released him, but he is obliged to appear before the investigating judge whenever required.

Borodin, close to former President Boris Yeltsin, was removed from his Kremlin position by the current Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, in 2000. He is now the secretary of Russian-Belarus union.

swissinfo with agencies


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