The former nuclear power minister, Yevgeny Adamov, who was arrested in early May in Switzerland at the U.S. request, has been re-arrested at Russia's extradition request, the Russian embassy in Bern reports.
According to Igor Petrov, the spokesman for the embassy, the Russian embassy received a notification to the effect from the Swiss Department of Justice and Police.
"We received a letter saying that Adamov is now formally arrested at our request," said Petrov.
"It does not change anything. The decision of the Bellinzona court will be critical," he said.
The criminal court in Bellinzona, Switzerland, is considering the complaint of Adamov's lawyers questioning the legality of his arrest in Switzerland at the U.S. request.
The lawyers filed the complaint on May 17 against the Justice Department of Switzerland, which issued the arrest warrant in Bern.
The lawyers insist that Adamov's arrest violated the Swiss and international law. If it is proved, he will be released from custody and will be able to return to Russia as a free person.
Now that Adamov has been formally arrested at Russia's request, the situation may change. If the Bellinzona court finds Adamov's arrest at the U.S. request illegal, he will remain in custody but in accordance with Russia's request.
Adamov, 66, Russia's nuclear power minister in 1998-2001, was detained on May 2 in Bern at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. has not yet filed a formal extradition request. The deadline for the request is June 30, 2005.
Switzerland received Russia's request to Adamov's extradition on May 17 after the Basmanny court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant on May 14. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office opened a case against Adamov on the charges of fraud and abuse of power.
The decision on Adamov's extradition is due after the U.S. files a formal extradition request. Then the Swiss Department of Justice will have to decide which of the two requests is of higher priority.
The U.S. accuses Adamov and his business partner, U.S. citizen Mark Kaushansky, of misappropriating $9 million allocated for Russia's nuclear security projects.
If extradited to the U.S., Adamov will face up to 60 years in prison and a fine of $1.75 million.