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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Judge Denies 'Nervous' Borodin Bail

Two days after a U.S. judge refused to grant him bail, Pavel Borodin said Sunday that he is having health problems in a New York jail due to "nervous strain," Interfax reported.

Borodin, 54, speaking by telephone, said he was placed under oxygen treatment for more than two hours Saturday and was experiencing heart and blood-pressure troubles, the news agency said.

Judge Viktor Pohorelsky ruled Friday in U.S. federal court that Borodin must remain in jail. Borodin, who once headed the Kremlin's vast property empire, was arrested Jan. 17 on Swiss charges of money laundering. He has denied the charges.

Friday's ruling drew a formal protest from the Foreign Ministry. Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov summoned U.S. Ambassador James Collins on Saturday to express Russia's concern.

Click here to read our special report on the Borodin's arrest."A serious concern was voiced that Borodin's case is fast turning from a legal into a political affair, which could have a negative impact on Russian-U.S. relations,'' said a Foreign Ministry statement issued after Mamedov's meeting with Collins.

"It was stressed that the Russian side hopes for a change in the position of the court," it added.

Attorneys for Borodin appealed Friday's ruling and a new hearing was scheduled for Friday, Interfax reported, citing his lawyer Eleonora Sergeyeva.

The Foreign Ministry statement also said Moscow hoped that the State Department would "take into account all circumstances and show an objective approach" when making the final decision on whether to extradite Borodin to Switzerland. A hearing on Borodin's extradition is expected next month.

Borodin, whose latest job was secretary of the Russia-Belarus union, said in an interview published Wednesday by the newspaper Izvestia that his arrest was politically motivated.

"I never received an invitation to go to Switzerland and talk with the prosecutor about the topic that interests him, but a farcical warrant for my arrest was issued. Why, one may ask? To get at the truth or to compromise a political figure and the state he represents?" Borodin was quoted as saying. "Apparently, someone is not at all pleased that Belarus and Russia are growing closer, someone wants to see disarray and isolated 'feudal' principalities in the former Soviet Union."

The Prosecutor General's Office said it looked into Borodin's affairs at the request of the Swiss and found no financial irregularities that could provide the basis for a criminal case.

"Not one breach of the rules of completing tenders, not one case of [falsely] raising estimates or the amount of work done, no facts that would give the basis for starting a criminal case against Borodin under either Russian or U.S. law were revealed through these checks," prosecutor's office spokesman Leonid Troshin said last week, Interfax reported.

Geneva prosecutors have alleged that Borodin gained kickbacks in connection with contracts awarded to two Swiss-based companies, Mabetex and Mercata, for building projects, including one involving renovation of the Kremlin.

Russia dropped its own investigation late last year after a two-year inquiry, saying there was no case to answer.

A Russian investigator went to Switzerland in February to discuss the case with Switzerland's top prosecutor and handed over documents linked to the Swiss probe.

"Not one of the questions put to us by our Swiss colleagues remains unanswered," Troshin said.

(Reuters, AP, MT )