The tension surrounding the Federation Council’s decision last week to vote against Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov’s resignation has continued to rise, especially in view of the fact that Skuratov and his investigators are reportedly continuing their probes into high-level corruption, including cases allegedly involving President Boris Yeltsin’s inner circle. Over the weekend one newspaper cited “unofficial information” that Skuratov is ready to call Pavel Borodin, head of the Kremlin’s “housekeeping” department, and Tatyana Dyachenko, Yeltsin’s daughter and adviser, in for questioning–apparently in connection with investigations into Mabetex, a Swiss firm which concluded a number of lucrative construction contracts with Borodin’s department. The paper reported that “documentary confirmation of the inner circle of the president in the embezzlement of state funds will be brought to Moscow March 23 by Swiss prosecutor Carla del Ponte, who is arriving in connection with an investigation into the activities in Russia of the Swiss firm Mabetex.”
The same paper also wrote that Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov discussed the possibility of criminal proceedings against Borodin and Dyachenko during a meeting late last week with leftist leaders, who included Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov (Kommersant daily, March 20). Other media, however, said del Ponte’s trip to Moscow was now in doubt because of the huge political implications of the Mabetex scandal (NTV, March 21). Mabetex, meanwhile, announced on March 19 that it planned to sue Skuratov and various media organizations–both Russian and non-Russian–for damages to its business reputation as a result of “deliberately false and biased information.” The company denies having anything to do with the video allegedly showing Skuratov with two prostitutes (Russian agencies, March 19).
CONTROVERSY OVER MEBATEX AND SKURATOV: POLITICAL CRISIS IN THE MAKING.