Russia's former nuclear-energy minister has been arrested in the Swiss capital on a U.S. warrant accusing him of diverting up to $9 million...
BERN, Switzerland — Russia’s former nuclear-energy minister has been arrested in the Swiss capital on a U.S. warrant accusing him of diverting up to $9 million from funds intended to improve Russian nuclear security, an official said yesterday.
Yevgeny Adamov, a nuclear physicist who worked with Chernobyl-style reactors and sales of nuclear technology to Iran, was arrested Monday while he was visiting Bern, Justice Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said.
Adamov is accused of diverting the money, provided by the Energy Department, to U.S. firms that he controls or to investments in various projects, Galli said.
Adamov refused yesterday to accept quick extradition, meaning the U.S. government has 40 days to file a formal extradition request, starting a process that could take months before a final decision is reached on sending him to the United States.
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Adamov is wanted by U.S. authorities on several counts of fraud and money-laundering, Galli said. The Justice Department sought the arrest based on a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Galli said Adamov had come to Switzerland to see his daughter. Irina Adamova told Swiss German television SF DRS that Swiss officials had lured her father to the country by saying they wanted to discuss her blocked bank account.
Russia said the charges were unconnected to Adamov’s tenure in the Russian government. He was nuclear-energy minister from 1998-2001.
Adamov headed the Dollezhal Institute, a Moscow-based government organization that has developed nuclear weapons and reactors, following the Chernobyl cleanup in 1986 until he was appointed minister by President Boris Yeltsin in 1998. Adamov returned to the institute after he was fired from his post in 2001 during a Cabinet reshuffle under current President Vladimir Putin.
During Adamov’s tenure as a government minister, he came under increasing criticism in connection with corruption allegations against him and his proposal to import nuclear waste for reprocessing.
In 2001, the anti-corruption committee of Russia’s State Duma, or lower house of parliament, accused Adamov of illegally setting up companies inside and outside Russia, including a consulting firm called Omeka, registered in Monroeville, Pa.
While he was Cabinet minister, Adamov angrily shrugged off U.S. objections to Russia’s building a nuclear reactor in Iran.
Since rejoining the Dollezhal Institute, Adamov has focused primarily on modernizing Russia’s 11 Chernobyl-type reactors still in operation.
Associated Press reporter Henry Meyer in Moscow contributed to this report.