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Borodin faces Swiss judge in money laundering probe

Pavel Borodin has to answer charges of money laundering in Geneva Keystone

A former Kremlin aide, Pavel Borodin, has appeared before a Swiss judge in Geneva to face more questions about his alleged involvement in the laundering of some $25 million (SFr44 million) in kickbacks from two Swiss companies.

Borodin, who flew to Geneva on Wednesday night, refused to answer reporters’ questions about the closed-door hearing before the investigating judge, Daniel Devaud. His lawyers said he would exercise “his constitutional right to maintain silence” during the hearing.

Also scheduled to appear at the hearing was Beghjet Pacolli, the head of Mabetex, one of the two Swiss companies accused of paying kickbacks to Borodin in exchange for lucrative contracts to renovate the Kremlin.

Borodin was extradited to Switzerland from the US at the beginning of April to face questions about the disappearance of $25 million. He is alleged to have accepted the money as a bribe during his time as Kremlin property manager under the former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin.

Borodin spent six days in Switzerland 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.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR