Adamov Given Suspended Sentence

Itar-TassYevgeny Adamov, ex-head of the Atomic Energy Ministry, standing in a cage at the Moscow City Court on Thursday.
Former Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov was released from prison after a court ruled Thursday that he should serve a suspended sentence.

Adamov, 67, was convicted in February on charges of stealing millions in U.S. government funds earmarked for bolstering nuclear security in Russia and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.

But the Moscow City Court on Thursday revised the verdict, giving Adamov a suspended sentence and setting him free in the courtroom, spokeswoman Anna Usachyova said.

Prosecutor General's Office spokesman Viktor Antipov said prosecutors would "definitely" not appeal Thursday's ruling, Interfax reported.

Adamov, who served as nuclear power minister from 1998 to 2001, was arrested in Switzerland in May 2005 after being indicted in the United States on charges of stealing $9 million earmarked for improving nuclear safety in Russia.

U.S. authorities pressed for Adamov to face trial in the United States, but Russian officials, fearing he could reveal state secrets, argued he should be tried in his home country. He was extradited to Russia in December 2005 and was released on bail in July 2006.

He was convicted on charges that he and two others had used their positions to steal 62 percent of the shares in a Russian-U.S. uranium joint venture, valued at $31 million. The amount is more than triple the $9 million that the United States accused Adamov of stealing. Adamov denied the charges.

The State Duma's anticorruption committee accused him of illegally setting up companies in and out of Russia.

U.S. Justice Department officials accused Adamov and a U.S. partner, nuclear engineer Mark Kaushansky, of setting up U.S. corporations and diverting to them U.S. government funds intended to upgrade Chernobyl-style nuclear reactors in Russia. (AP, MT)