Swiss prosecutor Bertossa on Pavel Borodin’s sentence in money laundering’s “Kremlingate”

From the book by Bernard Bertossa and Agathe Duparc. Paris, Fayard, 2009

Bertossa on Borodin Mabetex

The case of embezzlement and laundering of up to 15 million $ on the Kremlin’s buildings restauration, also known as Kremlingate, during president Eltsin’s administration.

Russian authorities dropped the file, transmitted by Switzerland, saying that they received “only copies of the documents which are not proofs”. In Switzerland Russian official (the Head of the Presidential Property Management Department) Pavel Borodin was found guilty and sentenced to a fine in 2002.

Geneva’s Prosecutor Bernard Bertossa:

In this case, we had all the evidence against Pavel Borodin: receipts, contracts, bank accounts. After that, those who wanted to cover up the scandal took over the case in Russia, we received a visit to Geneva from the Russian prosecutor and judge responsible for the investigation. We showed our file to them. I remember the prosecutor, a huge guy in the old apparatchik style, who never smiled. Both didn’t want to hear or understand anything, it was a dialogue of the deaf. They were in absolute bad faith. I imagine they came to Switzerland to find out what we knew, and maybe better prepare for the absolution of Borodin. In any case, we quickly understood that their attitude was exclusively dictated by political motives unrelated to the implementation of the law. Shortly after this interview, we learned that the file open in Moscow was closed. One of the reasons given was that the documents we had forwarded were not originals and therefore could not be considered as evidence. It was filthy hypocrisy!
But, after all, we didn’t need the Russians to go through the proceedings. In 2000, Geneva’s judge Daniel Devaud decided to indict Pavel Borodin and issued an international arrest warrant against him. <>
In 2002 Borodine and two Swiss financial intermediaries, who had helped him to wire transfer the amounts obtained due to  his corruption, were however found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to fines of 400,000 francs.  They did not appeal. As in many other cases, this case had some side effects. Our file was sent to the Swiss tax authorities and one of the companies that participates in the corruption of Borodin was ordered to reimburse ca. 10 million francs to settle taxes fraud…”

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