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28 Jun, 2007 20:54

Doubt surrounds fraud case against former Russian minister

A nuclear engineer has been sentenced to 15 months in a U.S. prison for tax evasion. He was also accused of helping Russia's former Atomic Energy Minister, Evgeny Adamov, to steal $ US 9 MLN of foreign aid. However, it's unclear whether charges in the U.S

In May of 2005, American prosecutors indicted engineer Mark Kaushansky and Evgeny Adamov on charges including conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion. Kaushansky pleaded guilty in September, but Evegeny Adamov, who was Russia's nuclear energy Minister between 1998-2001, maintains he is innocent of the charges.

Prosecutors accused the former minister of misusing funds meant for the Russian Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering, which he headed from 1986 to March 1998.

His lawyer, Henry Reznik, claims those charges have been dropped.

“A federal Court in Pittsburgh rejected the suit brought by U.S. prosecutors accusing professor Evgeny Adamov, Russia's former Atomic Energy Minister, of misappropriating $US 9 MLN allocated by the U.S. Department of Energy to increase security at former Soviet power stations,”  he said.

However, a representative from the district court in Pittsburgh told Russia Today there have been no discussions about dropping charges against Adamov, or throwing the case out.

But the judge Maurice Cohill did say, ''Dr. Adamov will probably never be in the United States to have the charges against him resolved."

Evgeny Adamov was fired by President Vladimir Putin in 2001 and was arrested in Switzerland in May 2005 after being indicted. U.S. officials sought to have him extradited to the U.S., but the Russian side opposed the idea and he was sent back to Russia.

Adamov still faces abuse of power and fraud charges in Russia but has maintained that he is innocent of the charges in the United States.