Russian, Swiss prosecutors coordinate anti-corruption efforts

(AP) -- Russian prosecutors said Tuesday that their probe into official corruption depends on materials provided by Swiss prosecutors.

This content was published on October 12, 1999 - 15:52

(AP) -- Russian prosecutors said Tuesday that their probe into official corruption depends on materials provided by Swiss prosecutors.

Russian and Swiss prosecutors have been discussing their cooperation and comparing notes on high-level corruption in St.Petersburg since Sunday.

Russian investigator Nikolai Volkov said they weren't discussing specifics. "This working meeting has the purpose to coordinate actions, it will not touch upon specific cases," he said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Russian officials said that the Russian investigation into about 10 cases depends on materials from Switzerland and its pace depends on their delivery, ITAR-Tass said.

Based on Russian requests for help, Swiss investigators have seized bank accounts and documents from Switzerland-based firms with Russian connections.

Swiss prosecutor Felix Benziger said that these documents would be gradually transferred to Russia. That cannott be done all at once, because some formal procedures need to be observed, ITAR-Tass said.

In one case, prosecutors are looking into allegations that a Swiss company paid bribes to senior Russian officials in connection with a contract to renovate the Kremlin. The Kremlin has denied any wrongdoing.

At the same time, the Russian government has also been under fire because of allegations that Russian mobsters have laundered $7 billion through the Bank of New York, possibly with officials' participation.

Moscow has been slow to launch a thorough investigation, claiming that the scandal has been the product of Western media and political circles.

Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo said Tuesday that "media allegations haven't been confirmed by any real facts," the Interfax news agency reported.

He said that Russian police officials visited the United States and were told by the FBI that there were no concrete materials that would link members of President Boris Yeltsin's family or his inner circle of advisors to the Bank of New York case.

Former Swiss Federal Prosecutor Carla del Ponte triggered an investigation of top Kremlin officials last year by telling Russian prosecutors she had evidence of high-level corruption in Moscow.

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