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Ex-Kremlin Aide Probed for Corruption

June 10, 2001

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MOSCOW (AP) _ A former Kremlin official accused of corruption left for Geneva on Sunday to meet with Swiss authorities investigating a Russian money laundering and kickback scandal, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.

Pavel Borodin was to meet with Swiss prosecutors on Monday but will refuse to answer questions, the agency quoted his lawyers as saying. It would be the second time he has been questioned in Geneva since his release on bail from a Swiss prison on April 12.

Swiss authorities believe Borodin, the Kremlin property manager under former President Boris Yeltsin, was involved in laundering $30 million in kickbacks in exchange for lucrative construction projects.

They allege two Swiss companies, Mercata and Mabetex, gave Borodin bribes. He denies the charges.

Borodin, 54, was arrested on a Swiss warrant Jan. 17 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. After a New York judge denied him bail, he agreed to be flown to Switzerland in April rather than face a lengthy extradition battle from his U.S. prison cell.

After six days in Swiss custody, he was freed on a $3 million bail bond and returned to Russia.

Borodin was first questioned by Swiss investigators on May 17, but he refused to answer questions.

Russian authorities dropped their own case against Borodin in December.

Borodin was removed from his Kremlin post by President Vladimir Putin in 2000, and he now holds the largely ceremonial office of secretary of the Russia-Belarus union.

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