Source AP ©

Swiss president travels to Russia to meet Putin

Visa regulations were one of the issues expected to be discussed between Russian President Putin and his Swiss counterpart on Friday.

Micheline Calmy-Rey traveled to Moscow the day after Switzerland's highest court ordered the release from prison of a Russian convicted in 2004 for killing an air traffic controller.

The case of Vitaly Kaloyev, who blamed the controller for the death of his family in a mid-air collision in 2002, had attracted wide sympathy in Russia, and Moscow had pressed Switzerland to release him early.

At their Kremlin meeting, Putin told Calmy-Rey that trade turnover between the two countries had doubled in the past four years and that Swiss investment in Russia has doubled in 2007 alone.

In comments to reporters, Calmy-Rey said that the two leaders would also be discussing the possibility of easing the visa regulations between our countries.

She also noted that Geneva is a major center for Russian oil companies.

The European trading arms of Lukoil Holdings and JSC Rosneft are based there, as was JSC Yukos before it was effectively dismantled amid a legal onslaught by Russian prosecutors targeting the company and its founder.

Switzerland has repeatedly stymied efforts by Russia to recover millions of dollars (euros) in Swiss bank accounts linked to Yukos.