Adamov corruption case may be returned for further investigation

Publish date: August 22, 2006

A Moscow court returned today case against a former nuclear power minister to prosecutors to eliminate shortcomings in the investigation, RIA Novosti Russian newswire reported.

Adamov, 67, spent 15 months in Swiss custody after being arrested at the request of the United States on charges of embezzling $9 million and abuse of office. He was extradited to Russia in early 2006, held in prison for six months, and released July 21 to await trial.

"During preliminary hearings, the judge mentioned returning the case to prosecutors to correct errors made during the investigation," Anna Usacheva, one of Adamov’s legal team told RIA Novosti.

The court has now recessed for consultations to decide whether or not to return the case to prosecutors, who said the judge’s motion was unfounded, the agency reported.

"Adamov said in court that the case does not have to be returned, and must be addressed in its essence," Prosecutor Viktor Antipov said.

Adamov’s lawyer, Genri Reznik, said the charges had to be specified, the news agency reported.

"The defense would itself have requested the return of the case to prosecutors," Reznik said.

As to Adamov’s comments, Reznik said his client "was being ironical," and added that Adamov said nothing about his objection to returning the case to prosecutors.

The court is expected to decide the matter Tuesday.

"By law, prosecutors have five days to resolve any procedural inconsistencies," Reznik said.

Adamov himself declined to comment. "There exists a certain ethic standard," he said, according to RIA Novosti.

The U.S. accused Adamov of misappropriating $9 million given to Russia for nuclear safety projects. He would have faced 60 years in prison if convicted in the U.S.

Prosecutors alledged the former Atomic Energy minister, whose tenure lasted from 1998 to 2001, was the leader of an organized criminal group whose members were on an international wanted list, and that he should be remanded in custody to prevent him from influencing witnesses.