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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Adamov Partner Pleads Guilty in Nuclear Case

APKaushansky, left, leaving a court with Thieman in Pittsburgh on Monday.
PITTSBURGH -- A former nuclear engineer accused of helping former Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov steal more than $9 million earmarked for improving the safety of Russian reactors pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax evasion.

Mark Kaushansky, of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and eight counts of tax evasion. Like Adamov, he also has been charged with additional conspiracy counts and money laundering, but Kaushansky's lawyer, Fred Thieman, said he expected those charges to be dropped at sentencing.

Asked by the judge why he was pleading guilty, Kaushansky said, "I just decided to admit that some tax-related irregularities were made."

Kaushansky had a business partnership with Adamov, whom President Vladimir Putin fired in 2001. Prosecutors say the defendants stole $9 million from the United States, other countries and corporations by setting up corporations in the United States to funnel to themselves money that was intended to improve Russia's nuclear safety.

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said in a statement that the indictment said Adamov was primarily responsible for diverting the money, but that Kaushansky "was most directly involved with the concealment and expenditure of those funds."

U.S. prosecutors wanted to try Adamov here, but Russian officials said he should face trial at home. He has denied the charges against him and awaits trial in Moscow.

Kaushansky, who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1979, was working as a researcher at Westinghouse Electric and as a translator when he met Adamov, according to the indictment.

Kaushansky's sentencing hearing was scheduled for Feb. 5, but is expected to take several days because both sides will present evidence about the amount of income for which he tried to evade taxes. Prosecutors say the counts involve income of more than $5 million, but Thieman said it was a fraction of that figure.