NEW YORK (AP) _ A former Bank of New York employee pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges that she made false statements in connection with a government probe into whether the Russian mob laundered billions of dollars through the bank's accounts.

Svetlana Kudryavtsev was an associate in the bank's Eastern European division in August when she was questioned by the FBI as it investigated several bank accounts, according to a criminal complaint signed Monday.

She was later fired by the bank as it became publicly embroiled in a massive money laundering scheme in which Russian gangsters were believed to have illegally washed up to $10 billion through the Bank of New York, the nation's 15th-largest bank.

She was released on $30,000 bail. The complaint alleges Ms. Kudryavtsev lied about whether she had received money or loans from suspects in the probe and whether she had ever heard of companies being looked at by investigators.

Ms. Kudryavtsev declined to comment, but her lawyer, Charles D. Adler, said she was ``ambushed at the bank by some FBI agents'' and two lawyers representing the interests of the bank.

Her English was not sufficient to handle interrogation well, he said.

He said Ms. Kudryavtsev was possibly targeted because she is a longtime friend of Lucy Edwards, who was also charged in the probe, or because the government wanted to intimidate her into becoming a prosecution witness.