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Monday, 5 February, 2001, 22:19 GMT
Swiss want Yeltsin aide extradited
Pavel Borodin (C) appearing in US Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York
Mr Borodin at his New York court appearance
The Swiss Government has formally asked the United States to extradite former Kremlin property manager Pavel Borodin, to face prosecution in connection with money-laundering allegations.

Mr Borodin was detained on arrival at New York's JF Kennedy airport on 17 January, under an international arrest warrant issued by a Swiss prosecutor.

Pavel Borodin
Mr Borodin denies wrongdoing
He is accused of involvement in laundering $25m. Mr Borodin denies wrongdoing.

Mr Borodin was in the US to take part in the festivities surrounding the inauguration of President George W Bush.

A New York judge last month denied a request by lawyers for Mr Borodin to be released on bail.

'Bribery'

The extradition request is based on two arrest warrants: one for money laundering and the other for participating in a criminal organisation.

During a visit to Switzerland last week, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov urged the Swiss to respond quickly to Moscow's demand for Mr Borodin's release.

Pro-Borodin protest, Moscow, 25 Jan 2001
Russians protested against the arrest in Moscow
But Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss said the case stood with Swiss judicial officials and that the federal government was unable to interfere.

The Swiss authorities accuse Mr Borodin of taking millions of dollars in bribes from two Swiss construction companies in return for contracts to renovate the Kremlin and other public buildings in Moscow while Boris Yeltsin was president.

Immunity

Mr Borodin is currently the secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union. Though largely ceremonial, the position guarantees him legal immunity in Russia.

The arrest of Mr Borodin, who was one of Boris Yeltsin's closest confidants, has triggered a huge outcry from Russian politicians.

In December the Russian prosecutor closed an investigation into whether Mr Borodin accepted bribes from two Swiss firms - Mabetex and Mercata - to take part in the renovation of the Kremlin, laundering the money in Swiss accounts.

The Russian Government has said it is doing everything necessary to secure Mr Borodin's release.

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See also:

26 Jan 01 | Europe
Former Yeltsin aide denied bail
19 Jan 01 | Europe
Yeltsin aide held in US jail
08 Sep 99 | The Economy
Yeltsin linked to bribe scandal
27 Jan 00 | Europe
Arrest warrant for Yeltsin aide
22 Sep 99 | Europe
Swiss freeze US funds
10 Jan 00 | Europe
Putin reshuffles government
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