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Borodin remains behind bars in US

Pavel Borodin has been refused baill by a US court

(Keystone)

A senior Russian official arrested in the United States on a Swiss extradition warrant is to remain in prison for the time being. A federal judge denied bail to the former Kremlin official, Pavel Borodin, who is wanted in Switzerland on money laundering charges.

The US magistrate refused to release Borodin despite guarantees by the Russian ambassador, Yuri Ushakov, that Borodin would go to Switzerland voluntarily.

The magistrate said that only "special circumstances" could warrant the release of Borodin, and that these did not exist. However, he gave the go-ahead for Borodin's lawyers to submit a new request for his release from custody.

Speaking after the hearing, ambassador Ushakov said he did not consider the matter closed.

"Our request was rejected, but the court has agreed to reconsider the issue," Ushakov said. "We haven't won, but neither have we lost."

Borodin, who belonged to former President Boris Yeltsin's inner circle, was detained in New York last week while on his way to the inauguration celebrations for the new US president, George W Bush.

The former Kremlin finance chief is at the centre of a Swiss investigation into a money laundering scheme said to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

It's alleged that two Swiss companies, Mabetex and Mercata, paid millions of dollars in bribes to high-ranking Kremlin officials, in return for lucrative contracts to renovate the Kremlin.

On Thursday, the Swiss investigating magistrate, Bernard Bertossa, said his office was widening its investigation into Borodin's activities.

Switzerland is expected to issue a formal demand of Borodin's extradition in the next 40 to 60 days.

swissinfo with agencies

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