SKURATOV VICTORY GENERATES PECULIAR STATEMENT FROM KREMLIN.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 191
A Moscow court today upheld a lower court decision, made in August, declaring the prolonging of a criminal investigation against suspended Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov by the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office unlawful. The Federation Council–Russia’s upper house of parliament–had in midweek refused for a third time to approve President Boris Yeltsin’s dismissal of the prosecutor general. Skuratov 2, Kremlin 0. Following today’s decision, Skuratov said that he plans to return soon to work as Russia’s prosecutor general (Russian agencies, October 15). It is quite likely, however, that the Kremlin will immediately initiate another criminal case against him–perhaps on the basis of the claim of Bedgjet Pacolli, head of the Swiss construction firm Mabetex, that he gave Skuratov fourteen suits, worth US$60,000 (see the Monitor, October 14).
Yesterday, in the wake of the Federation Council’s vote, the Kremlin released a statement saying that President Boris Yeltsin “has never opened foreign bank accounts and neither has held, nor currently holds any foreign property” (Russian agencies, October 14). What was peculiar about the Kremlin statement was that while Skuratov–during his address to the Federation Council just prior to the vote on his fate–charged that the “personal interest of the president and his family” was behind his suspension, he never accused Yeltsin of holding foreign bank accounts.
Earlier this week, however, Skuratov said that Western press reports alleging that the Swiss construction firm Mabetex provided credit cards to Yeltsin and his two daughters were true (see the Monitor, October 14). This charge was confirmed to some degree yesterday, when an official in the legal department of Switzerland’s Banca del Gottardo stated that the bank, at Mabetex’s request, had provided a guarantee for credit cards for Yeltsin and his daughters. The bank official, Marco Streun, said that the guarantee was in effect for only two months and that he did not know whether credit cards were in fact ever issued (Associated Press, October 14).
ARE PRIMAKOV’S DENUNCIATIONS OF CORRUPTION A PRELUDE TO DEAL WITH KREMLIN?