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Switzerland helps Russia combat corruption

The Swiss headquarters of Mabetex, a company implicated in a Kremlin corruption scandal


The justice authorities say they have handed Russian prosecutors more documents to help with their investigations into several corruption cases, at a three-day meeting in eastern Switzerland.

The talks, which ended on Tuesday, focussed on Russia's requests for legal assistance for inquiries into the Mabetex and Forus/Andava cases.

However, Switzerland's deputy prosecutor, Felix Bänziger, did not say which cases the documents related to. He did say that 65 requests for legal assistance were still outstanding between the two countries.

The Lugano-based company, Mabetex, is suspected of paying bribes to the Yeltsin family to secure contracts for renovation work at the Kremlin, while the financial groups Forus and Andava are alleged to have helped launder up to SFr600 million of funds diverted from the Russian airline, Aeroflot.

The meeting in Appenzell was attended, on the Russian side, by the deputy prosecutor-general, Vassily Kolmogorov, and two senior officials, Sergei Aristov and Vladimir Lyseiko.

It was held as part of a regular process of consultations which Swiss and Russian prosecutors initiated in 1998. Under the accord, the two sides agreed to simplify and speed up the process of consultation on matters of organised crime and money laundering.

The two sides said after the meeting that legal assistance had been become considerably easier since the European conventions on legal aid and extradition came into force in Russia in March. They said they would meet in Russia for their next round of talks in 2001.

swissinfo with agencies


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