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Former Russian Nuclear Minister Extradited to Moscow for Trial


Russia's former atomic energy minister has been flown back to Moscow from Switzerland, to face trial on charges of fraud and abuse of power. The minister is also wanted by the United States, which has expressed disappointment that he was not sent there for trial.

The return of the former government minister was a lead story on Russian news programs.

Russia's Federal Prison Service says Yevgeny Adamov was taken to a Moscow prison after his arrival early Saturday.

The former faces trial in Russia on charges he embezzled $17 million from the Russian state, while serving as nuclear energy minister from 1998 until 2001.

A Swiss court ruled that Mr. Adamov should be extradited to Russia, as the country where his alleged crimes were committed.

However the United States expressed disappointment at the move, as he was arrested by Swiss authorities last May at the request of U.S. authorities.

Mr. Adamov is accused by U.S. prosecutors of fraud and money laundering in connection with $9 million his agency was granted by the U.S. government for improving nuclear safety after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

After the arrest, Russia demanded the ex-minister be sent back to his homeland, rather than to the United States, saying he could reveal nuclear secrets, if put on trial there.

The 66-year-old former minister is part-owner of a consulting firm based in the United States, and investigators believe that he and a partner siphoned off funds by creating shell companies.

In October, Swiss justice authorities ruled he should be sent to the United States, but Mr. Adamov appealed. And, in December, Switzerland's Federal Tribunal ordered his extradition to Russia.

On Thursday Mr. Adamov's lawyer said his client was ready to prove his innocence, both in Russia and the United States, but added this would only be possible if U.S. authorities guarantee his security.

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