Nikolai Volkov, a top investigator with the Prosecutor General’s Office, said on July 28 that it was possible that Russian law enforcement may soon launch an investigation into the alleged diversion of the IMF stabilization credit sent to Russia in the summer of 1998. Speaking to reporters in Berne, Switzerland, Volkov said that he did not rule out the possibility that Moscow would ask Geneva for assistance in investigating the alleged diversion. He refused to say how much money and precisely who might be involved in the alleged diversion (Russian agencies, July 29). According to media reports, the Swiss authorities have been conducting their own investigation into the alleged diversion. An Italian newspaper has alleged that Mikhail Kasyanov, then a deputy finance minister, now Russia’s prime minister, was involved (see the Monitor, July 17). IMF spokesmen have claimed that an audit by the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers found that no such diversion of IMF funds took place. They have also ruled out the possibility that Kasyanov could have been involved (see the Monitor, July 21).
Volkov, who is heading the investigation into the alleged embezzlement of hundreds of million of dollars from the Russian state airline Aeroflot, returned to Moscow from Switzerland on Saturday. He was expected to bring back boxes full of documents related to the case provided by his Swiss counterparts, who have been looking into the role in that case played by two companies connected to the tycoon Boris Berezovsky.
RUSSIAN-IRAQI TALKS IN MOSCOW.