Russia’s ex-nuclear energy minister Yevgeny Adamov, who was arrested in Switzerland on Monday, has been indicted in the United States.This content was published on May 6, 2005 - 15:11
He 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 (SFr2.09 million).
The former atomic energy minister was indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A US-based business partner, Mark Kaushansky, was indicted at the same time.
They are accused of stealing more than $9 million from the US and other countries – money that was intended to improve nuclear safety in Russia.
Adamov is being held in Bern, pending his extradition to the US. Swiss justice officials reported on Wednesday that police had arrested him on Monday at the request of the US.
The ex-minister refused to accept extradition, meaning that Washington now has 40 days to file a formal extradition request.
The allegations cover the period 1993 to 2003. Adamov was minister from March 1998 to March 2001, when President Vladimir Putin ousted him in a cabinet reshuffle.
Kaushansky, a former Soviet national, worked as a nuclear expert for the US multinational Westinghouse.
US attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said Adamov and Kaushansky had conspired to steal money by setting up corporations into which they transferred money meant to improve security at Russian nuclear plants.
Before he was named energy minister, Adamov was director of the Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering. He returned there as a scientific leader after serving as energy minister.
Lanny A. Breuer, Adamov's lawyer, denied the charges against his client. He said Adamov had been cooperating with authorities and had been investigated in Russia and subsequently cleared.
Breuer said that Adamov hadn't stolen any money, but had invested it in other countries to avoid the financial turmoil following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
"We are confident that Dr Adamov will be cleared of all the charges once these circumstances are understood," Breuer said in a statement.
swissinfo with agencies
Yevgeny Adamov (65) was arrested in Bern on Monday at the request of the US authorities.
He was apparently in Switzerland to visit his daughter who is a Swiss resident.
On Wednesday he refused extradition to the US.
Former atomic energy minister under President Yeltsin, Adamov was sacked by President Putin in 2001.
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