Congressman Tom Lantos and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met in Moscow yesterday to discuss the ongoing scandal surrounding alleged moneylaundering from Russia through the Bank of New York. Following the meeting, Lantos–a Democrat from California–quoted Ivanov as saying that in the “near future” the Russian side will send to the United States a “very serious” delegation to help American law enforcement investigate the moneylaundering charges “to the end.” Lantos, meanwhile, was himself quoted as saying that he believed that the drive behind the scandal is the U.S. election campaign, and that the real target is U.S. Vice President Al Gore, the likely Democratic candidate in the 2000 U.S. presidential election (Russian agencies, September 6).
Lantos’ comment echoed one made the day before by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In an interview aired on Russian Public Television (ORT), Putin said that the Bank of New York scandal was being fuelled by the election campaigns in both the U.S. and Russia and that the charges of billions of dollars being laundered through the bank “obviously do not correspond to reality.” Putin, however, did admit the problem “exists,” and vowed that the Russian side would “work on it” (ORT, September 5).
…MOMENTUM OF MONEYLAUNDERING CHARGES NOT PETERING OUT.