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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Warrant Issued for Borodin Witness

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Prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant for Felipe Turover, a key Swiss witness in an investigation of whether former Kremlin property chief Pavel Borodin took bribes in exchange for lucrative contracts to renovate Kremlin buildings.

The Prosecutor General's Office said Monday that Turover, who they believe is residing in Switzerland, is wanted on suspicion of fraud, theft and attempts to exhort a bribe.

Prosecutor Alexander Buksman said his office had asked for the warrant after determining that Turover posed in 1998-99 as an aide to then-Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov and took $3,000 from a woman to close a criminal case against her daughter. Buksman said Turover also is suspected of stealing a $16,000 watch and failing to pay $8,000 in rent on an apartment in downtown Moscow.

Buksman's office has repeatedly tried to summon Turover for an interrogation but to no avail.

Turover and Skuratov could not be reached for comment Monday.

But Turover, who once worked as a debt collector for a Swiss bank, told Russian media over the weekend that the accusations were groundless and an attempt by prosecutors to silence him.

"It's revenge by Borodin's mercenaries for my interviews and television statements," Turover was quoted Friday by the Segodnya newspaper as saying.

He said he was ready to rebut the prosecutors' charges but not in Russia.

Numerous reports have said Turover holds Spanish and Isreali passports.

Turover's testimony to Swiss prosecutors against Borodin is expected to play a key role in Switzerland's bid to extradite the former Kremlin adviser from the United States and put him on trial. Borodin was arrested in New York on a Swiss warrant in January.

His testimony is thought to have helped convince Geneva prosecutor Bernard Bertossa to charge Borodin of accepting tens of millions of dollars from two Swiss-based construction firms, Mabetex and Mercata, in exchange for awarding them contracts to refurbish Kremlin buildings.

Turover in his testimony has also implicated former President Boris Yeltsin in allegations of wrongdoing, according to The New York Times. In 1999, he said that he had seen credit card bills and photocopies of credit cards issued to Yeltsin and his daughters by a Swiss company that did $1.5 billion worth of work for the Kremlin, the newspaper reported.

Yeltsin has denied the allegations.

Turover, in an interview published Saturday by Kommersant, hinted that he could also testify against President Vladimir Putin, who once served as Borodin's deputy. "If they want to turn the Yeltsin-gate into a Putin-gate, one can do that," Turover said.

He did not elaborate on exactly how he might implicate Putin in the case.