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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swiss Pass Aeroflot Files Over




BERN, Switzerland -- Switzerland handed over a mass of documents to a Russian investigator Wednesday in connection with allegations that media magnate Boris Berezovsky defrauded state airline Aeroflot.


The 550 kilograms of material could contain the key to an alleged scam that newspapers have reported as being worth up to $715 million.


The documents, which have been gathered by Swiss judicial authorities over the past year, were handed over to special investigator Nikolai Volkov at a ceremony in the cellars of the public prosecutor's offices in Bern.


Many of the documents were seized a year ago at two Lausanne-based companies, Andava and Forus, and at their local UBS bank branch.


There are also papers related to Berezovsky's bank accounts at the same UBS branch and at Julius Baer in Zurich.


Volkov is probing allegations that Berezovsky was involved in skimming off money from Aeroflot through the two Lausanne-based companies.


Berezovsky and the two companies deny any wrongdoing.


Andava started corporate life in 1994 as a joint venture between Swiss trading house Andre et Cie and AVVA International f a Swiss firm owned by Russia's AVVA, where Berezovsky held a key management post.


Andava director William Ferrero said recently that Aeroflot boss Yevgeny Shaposhnikov had given orders in 1996 to many Aeroflot offices around the world to send 80 percent of their revenues to Andava, which would act as a central treasury service for Aeroflot, paying bills and arranging financing.


Forus Services is a financing company set up by Andre and Berezovsky that arranged loans for Aeroflot for a fee.