America demands nuclear expert's extradition

Yevgeny Adamov, a former nuclear energy minister of Russia, has been arrested in Switzerland at the request of the United States. American officials are insisting that he be extradited to the U.S. to face charges that he embezzled $9 million from the U.S. Energy Department. Adamov's lawyer, Timofei Gridnev said the arrest took place in a Bern court where his client had come to answer some financial questions. Two dailies, Gazeta and Vedomosti, pick up the theme. This is part of a struggle between Russia and the U.S. over control of nuclear security and an attempt to prove that dishonest people govern the Russian nuclear sector, said Konstantin Simonov, the general director of the Center for Current Politics in Russia. It is no coincidence that Adamov was arrested on the eve of George Bush's visit to Moscow on May 9. The issue of U.S. access to Russia's nuclear facilities will be most probably raised at the Bush-Putin meeting, Simonov said. The Russian Foreign Ministry has reported, "the claims to Adamov are connected not with his time in office" but with his commercial work in the early 1990s, when he headed the Nuclear Energy Ministry's Research and Development Power Industry Institute. "The institute pledged to fulfill a series of research projects in nuclear power safety," said Gridnev. "The U.S. side accepted the projects without any complaints. But now the Americans have suddenly decided that the money did not reach the institute but was embezzled by Adamov." However, the Americans are not alone in being suspicious about Adamov: the previous State Duma's corruption commission had questions for Adamov, too, said Akhmed Bilalov, deputy chairman of the Duma committee on the CIS. Adamov set up several private companies in Russia and the US. The Duma investigation showed that Adamov was worth more than $3 million in 1999, when he was minister, and his wife $1.5 million.

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