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Borodin refuses to answer questions

Pavel Borodin is to be summoned again on July 3 Keystone Archive

A former Kremlin aide, Pavel Borodin, has made a second appearance before a Geneva judge to face questions about his alleged involvement in laundering $25 million (SFr45 million) in kickbacks from two Swiss companies.

This content was published on June 11, 2001 - 12:22

Borodin exercised his constitutional right to remain silent, and refused to answer Judge Daniel Devaud's questions. Before the hearing, his lawyer, Robert Assaël, said Borodin "believes he hasn't committed any crime, so he sees no reason to justify himself."

This is the second time Borodin has travelled to Switzerland to face Devaud. At their last meeting, on May 17, the former Kremlin aide also refused to answer the judge's questions.

The court said another hearing would be held on July 3, and that Borodin would again be summoned to face questions.

Borodin, a Kremlin property manager under the former president, Boris Yeltsin, is accused of laundering kickbacks worth $25 million from two Swiss companies - Mercata and Mabetex - which he is alleged to have received in exchange lucrative construction contracts to renovate the Kremlin.

Borodin, 54, was arrested at New York's Kennedy airport on a Swiss warrant last January, and extradited to Geneva. He spent six days in custody before being freed on bail of SFr5 million ($2.85 million), which was paid for by the Russian authorities.

Both Borodin and the two Swiss construction firms involved, Mabetex and Mercata, have denied any wrongdoing.

The Russian authorities dropped their own inquiry last year, saying they had insufficient evidence to proceed.

swissinfo with agencies

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