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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Interpol Dubs Russia Scandal Biggest Affair for Agency Ever




GENEVA -- The head of Interpol said that the alleged Russian money-laundering scheme involving the Bank of New York was the biggest such affair the global crime-fighting agency had come across so far.


Interpol's British Secretary General, Raymond Kendall, said during a visit to Geneva on Thursday that his agency was cooperating with U.S. investigators in the probe but that no arrests had been made so far.


"We are involved," Kendall said. "In dimension terms, it is the biggest affair we have seen up to now."


"What is complex in the Russian situation is that you seem to be dealing with corruption taking place at such high levels, that the normal ways of cooperation you'd use are not necessarily the valid ones," he said.


"You want to be sure that the information that you are dealing with doesn't get to the wrong people ... I could not send a message to anyone in Russia; I have to be sure that it's not going to get into wrong hands," Kendall said.


U.S. and British prosecutors are investigating whether Russian mobsters, businessmen and officials siphoned more than $15 billion out of the country and laundered the money through accounts at the Bank of New York.


Separately, prosecutors are also probing whether a Swiss firm may have bribed Kremlin officials to win hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to renovate public buildings.


So far, prosecutors have not publicly linked the Swiss and U.S. probes. The Swiss Federal Prosecutor's office has said it is ready to assist the U.S. investigators if there is a request to do so.


Their outcome is certain to have an impact in Russia and Switzerland as well as in the United States, where Vice President Al Gore's Republican opponents for the 2000 presidential elections have seized on his prominent role in relations with Russia.


Kendall said investigators had failed so far to find evidence of any illegal activity.