Former Russian minister challenges detention

Adamov (right) in happier times, here seen with US official Bill Richardson in 1999 Keystone Archive

Lawyers for Russia’s former atomic energy minister, Yevgeny Adamov, have appealed to the Federal Criminal Court against his detention in Switzerland.

This content was published on May 18, 2005 - 18:45

His legal team said on Wednesday that Switzerland had violated his immunity as a former minister.

Adamov was arrested earlier this month in Bern on the basis of a United States warrant. US justice officials have accused him of diverting up to $9 million (SFr11 million) from funds intended to improve security at Russia’s nuclear facilities.

Adamov’s lawyer, Stefan Wehrenberg, said Switzerland’s decision also contravened national and international law.

Folco Galli, spokesman for the Swiss justice ministry, said such an appeal could only challenge whether Adamov’s detention was legal. He added that the question of his extradition to the US could not be considered as part of the appeal.

Adamov is charged with money laundering, tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy to transfer stolen money. He could face up to 60 years in prison and a fine of $1.75 million.

US accusations

Wehrenberg said he expected the Russian authorities to approach the Swiss government soon to discuss the case.

Adamov had come to Switzerland to help his daughter, Irina Adamova, regain access to blocked bank accounts.

A Swiss citizen since 1992, she is the subject of a money-laundering inquiry and has had her bank accounts frozen, containing assets worth around SFr250,000 ($205,000).

There is believed to be no connection between the accusations against Adamova and those against her father.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Former president Yeltsin named Adamov atomic energy minister in 1998.
He kept his post in 2001 after a cabinet reshuffle under president Putin.
However, he was removed from the government later the same year due to corruption allegations.

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