Swiss to extradite Russian ex-nuclear minister to USA

Publish date: October 3, 2005

In an unprecedented public swipe against alleged corruption within co-operative US-Russian nuclear remediation projects, Swiss authorities have decided to extradite former Russian atomic energy minister Yevgeny Adamov to the United States instead of to his homeland, the Swiss Justice Ministry said Monday.

Russia has been fighting the US extradition request―filing an extradition request of its own―for supposed fear that Adamov could reveal nuclear secrets while facing charges in the United States of stealing up to $9 million intended for improvements to Russia’s nuclear security sent from the United States Department of Energy since 1993.

Adamov has 30 days to file an appeal with the Swiss Supreme Court, a spokesman for the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a telephone interview with Bellona Web Monday. But the Swiss Supreme Court has shown little in the way of lenience in Adamov’s case, turning down his request over the summer that he be released from prison pending his extradition hearings.

Adamov has accepted extradition only to Russia. He started a hunger strike on Monday, a Swiss Justice Ministry spokesman said. It is an apparent protest of the ruling handed down by the Swiss court. Indeed, ultra-nationalist Duma leaders have suggested Adamov be killed before being handed into American custody.

According to the spokesman, the Swiss Justice Ministry ruled in favour of Adamov’s extradition to the United States, based on the alleged merits of the 20-page criminal case the Western District Federal Court presented. “What the Russian’s extradition request offered was political in nature―the justice ministry evidently felt that any alleged crimes committed by Mr Adamov had more criminal weight in the United States than in Russia,” the spokesman said.

Is Adamov a hero protecting Russian national interests or a common thief? Read Bellona’s analysis on Adamov’s case.