Several newspapers have published the details of a request sent in July by Swiss magistrate Daniel Devaud asking Vladimir Ustinov, Russia’s prosecutor general, for help in collecting additional evidence against 14 people whom the Swiss authorities have charged with money laundering and participation in a criminal organization. Among those named in the letter are Pavel Borodin, the former Kremlin property manager, Borodin’s daughter Yekaterina Siletskaya and her husband, Andrei Siletsky, and Viktor Stolpovskikh, the head of the Swiss company Mercata Trading and Engineering. The charges outlined in letter were the result of a nearly two-year-long investigation by the Swiss authorities into whether Mercata and another Swiss construction-engineering firm, Mabetex, paid bribes to top Russian officials in return for lucrative governmental refurbishment contracts. In June, Devaud said he would formally issue charges against five people, including Stolpovskikh and Bahgjet Pacolli, the head of Mabetex, in connection with the case (Reuters, June 22).
An anonymous official from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office told a newspaper that his office was examining the details laid out in Devaud’s letter, but they would respond to the Swiss magistrate only after receiving an original of the letter, not a fax (Moscow Times, September 13). According to a copy of the letter published in full in another newspaper, the letter from Devaud was dated July 10 (Segodnya, Sept 12). The Prosecutor General’s Office released a statement on September 12 saying that some issues raised in the letter “need correction,” but that the charges will be discussed when Valentin Roschacher, Switzerland’s federal prosecutor, visits Moscow “in the near future” (Russian agencies, September 12).
SWISS LETTER RAISES MORE DOUBTS ABOUT ANTI-OLIGARCH STRUGGLE.