Swiss Drop Adamova Charges

GENEVA -- A money-laundering investigation against the daughter of former Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov has been dropped, Swiss prosecutors said Friday.

Switzerland also released funds frozen in connection with the three-year-old case, said Jeannette Balmer, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor's office. She declined to reveal the amount.

"The case has been closed," she said from Berne, adding that under Swiss law it would have been difficult to prove money laundering given the lack of a conviction abroad for fraud.

Adamov was arrested while visiting his daughter Irina Adamova in Switzerland in May 2005 on a U.S. extradition request. The United States accused him of embezzling $9 million that Washington had sent Moscow to help fund nuclear safety projects.

Russia sent its own extradition request, triggering a tug-of-war. Switzerland extradited him to Russia in December 2005 in a ruling that irked the United States.

Adamov, who served under President Boris Yeltsin, did not deny that he put U.S. money into his private accounts, but said this was normal practice in Russia to shield money from hyperinflation, an unstable banking system and corruption. He was freed on bail in July 2006 and has yet to face trial in Russia.

Last June a U.S. court sentenced his co-defendant Mark Kaushansky to 15 months in prison for fraud and tax evasion.