Russia's former Nuclear Power Minister Adamov to be jailed for 60 years over nuclear secrets

Mr. Adamov is charged with money laundering, tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy to transfer stolen money

Moscow can not accept extradition of Swiss-held Yevgeny Adamov, a former Atomic Energy Minister, to the US unless the move is consented by Russia beforehand, according to the commentary released by the information and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The commentary says that the Russian Foreign Ministry along with other ministries and Russian foreign institutions are taking a number of steps to ensure the quickest return of Mr. Adamov to Russia. The Russian government expressed its serious concern to the Swiss authorities regarding the arrest of Mr. Adamov in Switzerland. The commentary also says that criminal prosecution of Russia's ex-nuclear energy minister, a former member of the Russian government, on the territory of a foreign country and his potential extradition to a third country is a matter of concern affecting the national security of Russia, Interfax reports.

The commentary points out certain allegations against Mr. Adamov may cover the period when the above was the minister of atomic energy. In accordance with the norms of the international law, Mr. Adamov is immune from foreign criminal prosecution arising from the allegations of that kind and he must not be prosecuted by a foreign country without consent given by the Russian authorities. “Criminal prosecution of Yevgeny Adamov must be conducted in the Russian Federation in line with the Russian law should grounds for taking legal action against him be deemed sufficient,” says the document.

The commentary indicates that the Russian authorities are ready to cooperate with law enforcement agencies of other countries. The Russian daily Trud wonders why the whole world seems to be concerned with the Adamov case. The case has a lot to do with magic of such words as “nuclear secrets” and “nuclear safety.” There are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Did he really conspire to steal part of the money allocated by the US to improve security at Russian nuclear plants? Why do the Russian legal officials have nothing against Mr. Adamov while numerous web sites contain loads of allegations relating to his activities in the past?

Why did the USA keep silent until recently? Why are the authorities so lenient toward the bearer of state secrets (with a reputation that seems questionable to say the least) who likes traveling to foreign countries? Mr. Adamov was in Switzerland on a private trip to tackle financial issues relating to his daughter Irina. Irina is a Swiss resident, she has been living in Switzerland for the last 13 years. Mr. Adamov's daughter owns a consulting company specialized in residential development. Irina believes her father has been trapped. By Swiss law, the local authorities are to start the process of legal extradition at the official request if a detainee refuses to accept extradition (Mr. Adamov refused to accept extradition).

The Federal Department of Justice of Switzerland is to take a decision, an appeal may be filed within a 30-day period. Then the decision is deemed final. Specialists believe that the process of extradition may take as long as six months to complete. Mr. Adamov is charged with money laundering, tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy to transfer stolen money. He could face up to 60 years in jail. His business partner, Mark Kaushansky, could be jailed for 180 years. If the ex-nuclear energy minister is going to be sent to the other side of the Atlantic, and it is very likely that he will be eventually flown to the US, Mr. Adamov will be prosecuted in accordance with US law. He used to be running a company in Pennsylvania.

The United States allocated millions of dollars to improve security at Russian nuclear plants at the time when Mr. Adamov was an atomic energy minister. The money was sent to his ministry. Small wonder, it was lost in the process. The money reportedly came to light in the bank accounts held by Mr. Adamov in the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania, and also in the principality of Monaco. Mr. Adamov was indicted on 20 counts by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The former atomic energy minister and his business partner, Mark Kaushanski, had a consulting company in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania in the past.

The company was called Energy Pool. It lasted a mere three months before folding for good. However, the money kept coming in to the company's accounts for nearly five years after the company was declared defunct. Mr. Adamov and Mr. Kaushanski deny the charges. Lanny A. Breuer, one of the lawyers hired by Mr. Adamov, believes that his client “did what everybody else was doing at the time, he kept hard currency accounts abroad, and he paid salaries to the staff of the institute out of his own pocket using his personal bank accounts in Russia to avoid hypertrophied taxation system and criminals who might interfere into the business projects.”

The above explanation looks a little bit far-fetched. Victor Opekunov, a chairman of subcommittee for nuclear energy of the State Duma, points out that the Western media draws a direct parallel between the US calls for extradition of the former Russian atomic energy minister and the controversy over Iran's nuclear program. According to him, Mr. Adamov is an extremely important figure in terms of nuclear technologies and nuclear energy sector. It was hardly a coincidence that came out of the blue. His daughter reportedly asked him to visit her in Switzerland to help resolve a couple of financial problems. And the Americans promptly filed a request for his arrest and extradition.

It looks very much like a well-planned action by some special services. On the other hand, Russian special services must have botched up.

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Author`s name Olga Savka