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Del Ponte cleared over Borodin affair

Del Ponte was accused of leaking information to a newspaper Keystone Archive

The Swiss federal prosecutor's office has rejected a complaint against the department's former head, Carla Del Ponte, in which she was accused of leaking confidential information relating to a major money laundering case.

Felipe Turover, a key witness in the Borodin affair, claimed Del Ponte, who is now the United Nations’ chief prosecutor, had put his life in danger by passing on details about the case to the Italian newspaper, “Corriere della Sera”.

Speaking on Swiss German television, Hansjürg Mark Wiedmer, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, acknowledged that Del Ponte did have close contacts with the newspaper but he denied any wrongdoing on Del Ponte’s part. Wiedmer added that Del Ponte had categorically denied the charge.

Turover’s lawyer said his client now intended to take his complaint to the federal court.

In 1999, the “Corriere della Sera” ran a series of revelations about the Borodin affair, presenting Turover, who worked at the Lugano-based Gotthard Bank, as a key witness.

The case, which is currently being investigated by the Geneva judge, Daniel Devaud, centres around a former Kremlin aide, Pavel Borodin, who is accused of laundering SFr45 million ($25 million) in kickbacks from two Swiss companies – Mabetex and Mercata.

Borodin is alleged to have accepted the money in exchange for lucrative construction contracts to renovate the Kremlin, where he worked as a property manager under the former Russian president Boris Yeltsin.

Borodin was extradited from the United States to Geneva in January before being released on bail of SFr5 million ($2.85 million), which was paid by the Russian authorities.

He has since appeared before Devaud on four occasions but has refused to answer questions. Borodin, who is secretary of the Russian-Belarus union, is expected to be summoned again at the end of August.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR