MP Vavilov: Detainment in US not connected with Mikhail Khodorkovsky affair

'US authorities are investigating the fate of several hundreds of millions of dollars belonging to Gazprom, which turned up in the foreign bank accounts of former Ukrainian Premier Pavel Lazarenko,' said MP and former Deputy Finance Minister Andrey Vavilov on radio Echo Moskvy on January 23. He said that former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, former Gazprom chief Rem Vyakhirev, former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, former Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachyov and other government bureaucrats were involved in the deal.

'All of these people have been subpoenaed to appear in US court,' said Vavilov. He said that he also received a subpoena at the US border when he recently visited the US. He added that his subpoena was presented to him by FBI agents. Vavilov also answered questions as a witness in the criminal proceedings against Pavel Lazarenko.

'After I spoke with employees of the US Attorney General's office, American lawyers clarified that there were no accusations against me - only a request to answer some questions, which I did,' said Vavilov. He added that he could have refused to cooperate with US authorities, but then he would never again be allowed entry into the US. 'I gave them evidence and that's the end of the story,' he said.

Vavilov denied the supposition that his detainment in the US was 'payback' from authorities close to Yukos and former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whom Vavilov criticized for not paying taxes. 'People who don't pay their taxes inevitably come to the same ends as Khodorkovsky. 'It is unlikely my detainment was connected with Khodorkovsky?'

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