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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swiss to Deduct Fine From Borodin's Bail

A Geneva prosecutor who convicted former Kremlin property chief Pavel Borodin of money laundering said Tuesday he will this week deduct a fine and court costs from the $3 million bail paid for Borodin.

Borodin, who is now secretary of the Belarus-Russia Union, did not appeal prosecutor Bernard Bertossa's March 4 ruling and fine before Monday's deadline, and thus the conviction stands. Borodin, who has denied any wrongdoing, said he would not pay the fine because he does not recognize the ruling.

Bertossa said in a telephone interview that a 300,000 Swiss franc fine and court costs of 35,000 francs, a total of about $202,000, will be deducted from the bail. The remainder, he said, will be returned to Borodin through his lawyers.

Borodin's spokesman Ivan Makushok said Monday the bail was paid by the Foreign Ministry using reserves of the Belarus-Russia Union. The union is jointly funded by the Russian and Belarus state budgets. This year's budget is about $110 million, of which two-thirds is paid by Russia.

Borodin's lawyer Eleonora Sergeyeva said Tuesday that deducting the fine was illegal and a procedure would be initiated to have the bail returned, Interfax reported.

But Bertossa said it is within the power of his office to deduct the money without appeal to any other authority.

In addition to Borodin, three Swiss citizens -- a lawyer and two former bank clerks -- were convicted and fined in the money-laundering case, the prosecutor said, declining to name them. They were fined from 20,000 to 30,000 francs, Bertossa said.

The maximum fine for money laundering is 1 million Swiss francs, he said.

Bertossa said he has documents showing that kickbacks in the order of $60 million were paid for lucrative contracts to renovate the presidential aircraft, Kremlin palaces and the State Audit Chamber building in Moscow. The contracts were with Swiss companies Mabetex and Mercata Trading. Borodin was found guilty of laundering about half of that amount through Swiss banks.

If the Russian authorities had cooperated with the Swiss investigation, more serious charges could have been proven, Bertossa said. The Prosecutor General's Office dropped its investigation into Borodin in late 2000 saying it had found no evidence of any wrongdoing.

"The problem with Russia was not that it didn't give cooperation in the sense it did not give us documents -- because we had all the documents," Bertossa said. "The cooperation we were expecting from Russia was to prosecute the initial crime and that they didn't do. Mr. Borodin is trying to say now 'I didn't commit any crime in Russia and the main proof is that the Russians didn't do anything.'

"That doesn't mean anything," Bertossa said.

The prosecutor said Russia is cooperating in other cases and Switzerland is in the process of returning several million dollars it confiscated that are the proceeds of crimes committed in Russia.