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Swiss court gives green light to legal help for Russia

Russian prosecutors are investigating the disappearance of $600 million from Aeroflot Keystone

The federal court has ruled that the authorities may provide Russia with legal help concerning an investigation into suspected corruption at the Russian airline, Aeroflot.

This content was published on June 21, 2000 - 12:34

The decision follows months of wrangling between the court and the Lausanne-based financial group, Forus, which tried to prevent the authorities from cooperating with Russian prosecutors.

The company and its subsidiary, Andava, had tried several times to block the handing over of documents relating to their involvement with Aeroflot. The court made no comment on why it had rejected the companies' last appeal.

Russian prosecutors want to probe the companies' dealings with Aeroflot, which is 51 per cent state-owned. They suspect the billionaire Russian businessman, Boris Berezovsky and two former Aeroflot managers of siphoning off $600 million from the airline through Forus and Andava.

Last year, the court ordered that the companies' offices be searched and their bank accounts frozen.

Documents relating to the companies' dealings with Aeroflot have already been passed to the Russian authorities, but the federal prosecutor's office admits that they represent only a fraction of the information requested by Moscow.

The rest should now follow.

swissinfo with agencies

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