Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 187

Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has extended its investigation in to the so-called Mabetex case, involving allegations that top Russian officials, including former Kremlin “property manager” Pavel Borodin, received kickbacks from two Swiss firms, Mabetex and Mercata Trading, in return for lucrative contracts to refurbish Russian government buildings. Borodin, who currently holds the office of State Secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union, has repeatedly denied all the accusations connected to the Mabetex case. The case, which was opened in the autumn of 1999 by then Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov and extended once, ran out yesterday, exactly one year after it was launched. Ruslan Tamaev, the chief investigator in the case, said over the weekend that it was being extended in connection with “the need to fulfill a number of investigative actions.” Tamaev and Deputy Prosecutor General Vasily Kolmogorov returned over the weekend from Switzerland, where they received materials from the Swiss law enforcement authorities in connection with the Mabetex case (NTV, October 8). In July of this year, Geneva prosecutor Daniel Devaud wrote a letter to Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov asking for help in the case. The letter, which was recently leaked to the Russian and Western media, detailed the Swiss charges against Borodin, members of his family and others, which include the laundering of multimillion-dollar “commissions” received from Mercata through Swiss banks and various offshore zones (see the Monitor, September 14, 18). The Swiss law enforcement authorities have complained that they have not yet received an answer to Devaud’s letter and, more generally, that the Russian side has been less than helpful to them when it comes to cases involving alleged corruption by top Russian officials (see the Monitor, October 5). In an interview published over the weekend, Kolmogorov said that the Russian investigation into the Mabetex affair was in its final stage, but that it was taking a long time to finish it because of legal-procedural complications and the fact that the Russian side did not have certain documents located in Switzerland.

Kolmogorov said that his office had asked Geneva for help in getting these documents (Segodnya, October 7). Prior to leaving for Switzerland last week, Kolmogorov said he hoped his visit would help deepen cooperation between the Swiss and Russian prosecutors (see the Monitor, October 5).