Ex-Russian energy minister arrested for extradition to U.S., Swiss official says

Former Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov was arrested at the request of U.S. officials who have demanded his extradition, a Swiss official said Wednesday.

Adamov, a nuclear physicist, was arrested in Bern during a visit Monday, said Folco Galli, spokesman for the Justice Ministry.

He confirmed Adamov was wanted by U.S. authorities for several accounts of fraud and money-laundering.

The arrest was requested by the U.S. Justice Department, based on a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Galli said.

Galli said Adamov is accused of diverting up to US$9 million (€7 million) that the U.S. Energy Department provided Russia to improve security at its nuclear facilities.

Swiss authorities are asking Adamov whether he is willing to accept simplified extradition to the United States. If he rejects that, Washington will have to file a formal extradition request, Galli said.

Adamov was appointed Atomic Energy Minister in 1998 by then-Russian president Boris Yeltsin, but came under increasing fire in connection with corruption allegations against him and his proposal to import nuclear waste for reprocessing.

In 2001, the anti-corruption committee of Russia's State Duma, or lower house of parliament, accused Adamov of illegally setting up companies inside and outside Russia, including a consulting firm called Omeka registered in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Adamov was finally dismissed from his post in March 2001 as part of a sweeping Cabinet upheaval engineered by President Vladimir Putin one year after he took office.

BALZ BRUPPACHER, Associated Press Writer

On the photo: ex-minister Yevgeny Adamov

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