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On the Arrest of Pavel Borodin
[The following excerpt from a
press conference given by Attorney Genrikh Pavlovich
Padva includes all text relevant to the Borodin case.]
Official Kremlin Int'l News Broadcast
January 26, 2001, Friday
Moderator: Good day, dear journalists. Our guest today
is Genrikh Pavlovich Padva who represents Pavel Borodin's
interests. Today we will talk about the latest events in
New York. Please, share your opinion with the journalists.
Padva: First of all, I would like to apologize for being
late, but I came straight from the courtroom, and you
can't leave the courtroom until the hearings are over.
There is nothing consoling in these events for us and for
Pavel Pavlovich Borodin. Only one question was considered
yesterday or rather today, it was night here -- the
release of Borodin from under custody. Our side raised
the question of releasing him on bail and guarantees
basically from our state, because the guarantees were
given by the Russian ambassador to the United States of
Hearings lasted several hours, but no release was granted
and Borodin remains in custody. I want you to understand
one thing. For some reason there have been many media
reports saying that the question of his extradition is to
be considered. This is not so. The question of
extradition will be considered later when the Swiss side
provides all the necessary documents. It has 40 days of
the date of detention to do so.
The arrest that has taken place, just for you to have a
clear idea, was necessary [supposedly] to secure
Borodin's appearance for interrogation. It's not the
arrest of the accused or even a suspect. It's what is
called compulsory process.
The arrest that was effected in America is called
conditional arrest because the final decision is made not
immediately, but later. So, the question of extradition,
I repeat, will be decided when all the necessary
documents are provided. We will oppose extradition as
such when this question is considered. We will provide a
large amount of data and documents to prove that he is
not subject to extradition.
What kind of data and documents are these? First of all,
these documents will confirm our statement that Pavel
Pavlovich has never been officially summoned anywhere. I
mean Switzerland. The Swiss lawyer who is working on this
with us is one of the leading lawyers in Switzerland. He
is a professor and the author of a textbook by which all
Swiss lawyers study criminal justice. He has specially
checked out and talked with Mr. Deveau to find out
whether Pavel Pavlovich had been summoned officially, but
then failed to show up. No, nothing like this happened.
It's all the more strange because they are trying to
extradite him -- this is an exact translation from
English as a fugitive, which he is not. I'd say he was
not a circumspect, what shall we call him, hunter --
well, no, a person who thoughtlessly pushed his way under
this terrible wheel that was set in motion in Switzerland
and that is still spinning. He did not escape from
anywhere and he did not hide from anyone. He lived calmly.
By the way, he has been abroad before, not in America,
but in other countries.
Reject Voluntary Meeting with Borodin
We will prove that it's strange when the question of
coercive extradition is raised if the person never
objected to meeting them voluntarily in the first place.
Moreover, I am sure you know that our government told
Swiss law-enforcement agencies, through the Russian
ambassador in Switzerland, that if Switzerland did not
insist on extradition, our state and our government would
guarantee Pavel Pavlovich Borodin's voluntary appearance.
However, they rejected this proposal, which, in my view,
is a clear indication of bias because if they really want
him to come to meet them, why extradite him by force?
Indeed, in this case they will be able to meet him in
many months at best because this is not such a simple
procedure and not such a short procedure. If they want
just to question him, it is easier to do with our
government's guarantees. But unfortunately, they did not
agree to this and insist on his extradition.
I think it's some ambitions, of course. Maybe Mr. Deveau
bears the grudge for something, perhaps, he thinks that
he was not treated respectfully enough. Maybe, at least
I've got the impression that these actions were not
dictated by the necessity and are connected with some
ambitions. I think that's all I can say right now. I am
waiting for your questions and I'll try to answer them.
Q: Today's Izvestia published an interview with Bertrand
Bertossa in which he said that in addition to money
laundering, the participation in some criminal group,
excuse me, criminal organization, is incriminated to him.
How can you comment on this statement?
Padva: You know, it's hard to comment on all these
statements, because we have not seen official charges.
They have not presented either to Pavel Pavlovich or his
lawyers. We only know that they have been published more
or less officially and they are known to his lawyer who
has been mentioned to me, lawyer Ponset (sp?) there in
France, that is in Switzerland.
Let's begin with money laundering. It's hard to comment
because money laundering is understood as various actions
involving property and money obtained illegally. But they
don't say that -- they don't have proof, but they accuse
him of having obtained this money illegally. They hoped
all the time and said that this would be proved in Russia
and then the transfer of money through Swiss banks would
be recognized as money laundering.
However, our thorough investigation -- there are 120
volumes in the Mabetex case which is connected with Pavel
Pavlovich Borodin, but his guild has not been proven.
Moreover, our investigation came to the conclusion that
there is no his guilt in these actions, in contractual
relations with Mabetex. So, it's not quite clear what
money, the laundering of what money they are talking
As to participation in a criminal group I believe they
have the following in mind. They have found not one but
many different accounts, a dozen, two dozen, opened in
the names of citizens of ru and that are being ascribed
to Pavel Pavlovich. Since the movement on some accounts
coincided or were close, since some could have been from
one and the same sources, this and only this gives them
any reason to allege that there was some sort of a
criminal group that laundered this money.
I repeat that there is no data at all that all this money
was gained by criminal ways not only by Pavel Pavlovich
but also all the others. Unfortunately, we can comment
only on what we know. But we know very little so far
because, I repeat, no formal charges have been made
What does a charge of participation in a criminal group
mean? As you understand, the charge must indicate what
sort of a criminal group this was, what it engaged in,
what crimes were perpetrated by this group of persons --
murdered, robbed, engaged in extortion, got bribes and so
on. This is quite absurd. It is alleged that a group,
say, of some 20 totally unrelated persons was accepting
bribes or conducted joint theft. But nothing is known
about the real charges. The only charge is participation
in a criminal group. But this is really absurd. How can
one defend oneself against such an allegation? It appears
to us that this is quite a groundless allegation.
I believe this is all that I can say about this.
Q: Ekho Moskvy radio.
Did the defense expect the decision taken by the court,
or was it a surprise to you?
Padva: It was an expected decision, of course. But the
defense did not abandon hope that another decision was
possible. It also did its best to prevent the decision
that was taken from happening. But you know all the
difficulties that we encounter.
What is the situation? As I understand it, although some
people are trying to say that this is a purely legal
problem... formally, perhaps, it is a primarily legal
problem. But what in reality have we come up against? Let
us begin with the following. A couple of years ago
America became the first country to demand greater
transparency from Switzerland, its banks. America
insisted that the fight against money laundering should
be started. The American Jewish lobby raised the question
that after the War, after nazism a tremendous amount of
the money of victims of nazism had sedimented in Swiss
banks. All this finally forced Switzerland to start doing
something and, indeed, Swiss banks have become more open
and have started demonstrating accounts, mostly Russian
You know very well what is now happening in the world.
You know about the hysteria concerning the so-called
Russian Mafia. You know very well about the allegations
that Russia is not fighting money laundering and that for
this reason Russia should be discriminated. In an
election campaign speech Bush said that if elected, he
will do everything possible not to give financial
assistance to Russia because corruption and bribing is on
such a grand scale there that all money winds up in the
hands of our high-placed officials. And you know that he
even named one of them -- a person as prominent as
Chernomyrdin. This is the atmosphere in which Pavel
Pavlovich Borodin was arrested.
All this cannot but affect the solution of his case, his
fate. Of course, a judge should proceed first and
foremost from the law. But I am convinced that no matter
how a judge proceeds from the law his ideology determines
his understanding and interpretation of the law. Not
directly, perhaps, but indirectly.
We do not know how a judge voted, whether he voted for
Bush or not. It is possible that he voted for Bush
precisely because he said no financial help should be
given to our corrupt society. This simply cannot but play
a certain role in the solution of concrete questions,
We took all this into account and we knew that we are
facing substantial difficulties. Availing myself of the
presence here of representatives of different media
outlets I would like to say that it really disturbs me
that there is a different approach to the fate of our
citizens who are under investigation abroad and so on.
The mass media is doing its best to protect Gusinsky and
right it is. I fully agree with the press. If a person's
guilt has not yet been established, if it is not yet
really known whether or not a person has committed a
crime, I am convinced that there is no need to keep such
a person behind bars.
But when we speak about Borodin some media outlets for
some reason take already a totally different position as
if he were not a citizen of our country, as if his arrest
in these circumstances is not a slap in the face for our
country. I do not understand this. I would want all the
media outlets to keep to a single position, the position
of protecting our citizens. By the way, this is a duty of
our state. Sometimes I am asked: why is Borodin so
defended? Because we should protect our citizens. And it
is unfortunate that not all are being defended. This
should be done because this is a constitutional duty of
our state. It is a duty of our state to defend the
interests of our citizens if these interests, if the
rights of our citizens are encroached upon abroad. I
believe that all this should be taken into account.
As to what has concretely happened, you know everything.
I do not know what else is there for me to explain to you.
There was a court hearing. The pleas of the defense were
heard out for three hours. This appears to be fair. The
decision was taken not to release Borodin. But I cannot
understand this decision. I do not understand why a
person should be kept under guard when there is full
confidence and a full guarantee that he will appear in
court when summoned and will not disappear. There was
this proposal to make him wear the electronic bracelet.
You know, it will transmit information if he moves 100 or
150 meters. More than that, our ambassador offered his
guarantee. This is unique. I do not know about other
precedents. Plus a huge bail. Frankly, I don't know where
this sum of 750,000 came from, apparently journalists
wanted to raise that much, but the maximum sum that was
considered was 250,000. However, mass media talked all
the time about 750,000 for some reason. I think they have
Q: You say different media give different interpretations
but he is our fellow citizens and he must be defended.
But media say at least something, while Vladimir Putin
has distanced himself from this. Do you follow me? What
do you think the President's position?
Padva: You know, I don't think the President is duty
bound to make statements regarding the arrest of a
citizen of his country. The President has not made public
statements, he has not called a press conference and he
has not made an official statement. But if the Foreign
Minister is doing something, I don't think you have any
doubts that this is being done with the President's
If our state says, through our ambassadors, that there
are no reasons to keep him in custody and that if need be
we can guarantee his appearance, this cannot be done
without the President's consent. So, I don't think that
the President has to make statements on each such case.
The President is associated with our country. He is our
guarantor, and I think that if he makes an appeal to some
country and that country rejects it, it's a slap to all
of us, every citizen of our country because this is our
President, because we elected him, even though some may
not have voted for him.
This is why I think that the President should be very
circumspect in making such statements in order not to
lose his political face and, most importantly, avoid
useless moves. I think that if there had been clear
understanding that the President's statement or appeal
would solve everything, he would have made it immediately.
Q: You said that Russia provided guarantees of his
appearance to Switzerland, but Switzerland rejected them.
Was it done before Borodin's arrest or after?
Padva: I think I made myself quite clear. No official
request to Borodin or our government or Prosecutor
General's Office regarding his appearance in Switzerland
was ever made before his arrest. So, no one could
guarantee anything or discuss anything. We gave such
guarantees after his arrest.
Q: Speaking juridically, does his arrest violate any law,
maybe American or some other?
Padva: Just formally?
Padva: No. Who speaks of a breach of law? Neither we nor
our government have said that. There is an agreement on
extradition between Switzerland and America. It obligates
them to help each other in such cases. If one side
requests the arrest of a person and his further
extradition as provided for in this agreement, they have
every right to do so and they must do so.
Q: So, this talk of diplomatic passport -- everything is
Padva: If he had official immunity, then this would be a
different question. But Pavel Pavlovich does not have
official immunity. At the same time, arresting a delegate
who was basically sent officially on behalf of two
countries, on behalf of a union of two countries, on the
border is of course an unprecedented fact. I have never
seen anything like that before.
Voice: There was no official invitation.
Q: Official? He arrived by regular passport.
Voice: And by fake invitation.
Padva: Wait a minute. Where did you get all this? I am
shocked. You say this as if you saw all this with your
eyes. The invitation was absolutely genuine and signed by
a member of the presidential inauguration committee. I
have to tell you that the State Department does not
officially invite anyone except ambassadors who are
accredited and live there.
In keeping with the generally-accepted practice in
America, such invitations are issued by private persons
who have direct relation to events. I repeat, it was
I also know, although from media reports and not from
official documents, that he allegedly didn't sign it,
although we examined his signature. But this is a
different question that has not been officially
investigated or stated. He received an official document
signed, I repeat, by an official because he was a member
of two committees. It is more important that he was a
member of an inauguration committee. Besides, he was a
member of the Bush election sponsorship committee.
Think of what was in this invitation, what is known to us
and what is real and not a sham as you want to present it
or as you were deceived about. It says that Pavel
Pavlovich will be met upon arrival, that a room was
booked for him in such and such place, that he will have
a personal car, that he will take place in such and such
events, absolutely official ones -- dinners, official
breakfasts -- to which people are invited according to a
list approved by a presidential adviser.
This invitation was brought to the Foreign Ministry by
Pavel Pavlovich and it did not evoke any doubts. It and
his diplomatic passport were handed over to the US
embassy which did not say that it was a private
invitation that was invalid. This is why it's totally
wrong to say that there was no invitation or that it was
a false invitation.
If it were a false invitation, perhaps this may be proved
one day as a result of special investigation, and then
the one who sent it will be brought to account, but what
does Pavel Pavlovich Borodin to do with all this?
As for his regular foreign travel passport, delegates who
travel anywhere do not have to bear diplomatic passports.
Diplomatic passports are issued only to certain officials.
So the fact that he left the country and crossed the
border by regular passport does not make him an
unofficial person. Indeed, did he stop being the State
Secretary of the Union State because of that?
Q: Did he arrive in the US as a private person or as an
Padva: What private person? He received an invitation and
was sent there by the chairman of the Byelorussia-Russia
Union, Mr. Lukashenko. How can he be a private person
Q: But America does not recognize this union, it hasn't
recognized it yet, has it? It means nothing to it, do you
Padva: Well, it does mean something to us. You asked me
in what capacity he was sent there.
Q: He could have been sent by the Pope, but what
difference does it make?
Padva: What did you say?
Q: You accuse the States of disrespectful treatment. But
on the other hand, you say that no law was broken by the
Padva: That's right, no law was broken because they acted
in accordance with their obligations under an agreement
with Switzerland. You have to understand that -- I think
I make myself clear enough, they were fulfilling their
obligations under an agreement with Switzerland. In this
sense the law was not violated. It was not violated
because Pavel Pavlovich did not have a formal diplomatic
immunity. That is why there was no formal violation. I am
trying to say something else because you do not appear to
understand simple things. What am I saying is that my
experience, and I have been working as a defense lawyer
for already 50 years, tells me that Borodin was
officially sent there on an official invitation. This
does not mean that he had immunity. I repeat, there was
no formal violation of the law.
But proceeding from my practice, my experience, I do not
know of instances when an official delegate of such a
high rank was detained immediately at the border. This is
all that I wanted to say. Am I clear?
Q: Radio Liberty. You said that there is a different
attitude of the press to Gusinsky and Borodin...
Padva: I said not of the entire press but of a certain
part of it.
Q: Why does this surprise you? Does it not seem to you
that these persons have a different reputation?
Padva: Because people are detained not on the basis of
their reputation. And the press should not treat people
differently. A citizen of Russia should have equal
protection until he is found guilty and sentenced.
Unfortunately, you want Borodin to be found guilty and
Gusinsky not to be found guilty. As a citizen and a
lawyer I want both of them to be regarded as equally
innocent until their guilt is proved.
Q: Your accusations against the press are unfounded. It
is the task of the press to cover events. This has
nothing to do with what we want or do not want to do. You
are claiming that we are working for one side, defending
Padva: I am not speaking about you, I do not know who you
are working for.
Q: I work for Radio Liberty.
Padva: You are working for somebody just as defense
lawyers work for somebody. And you are committed to a no
lesser extent than lawyers. But I would want the press to
objectively cover events. As to my commitment, it is a
natural and official one. I am defending precisely
As to you, you have no right to defend somebody just
because you feel like it. You must inform people about
objective circumstances. Well, objectively, so far
neither Borodin or Gusinsky are guilty. And arrest
equally should not be applied to them, in any case, in
the existing concrete conditions.
I am prepared jointly with Gusinsky's lawyers to defend
his interests but I would also want those who rightly and
fairly defend Gusinsky to give similar treatment to
everybody else. Unfortunately, this is not what some
media outlets are doing. I am not referring to the entire
press. You know this saying that "Guilty conscience
Q: But it is absolutely wrong to blame everything on the
Padva: Not on the press but on concrete representatives
of the press.
Q: Can you name the person who ... (inaudible) ... from
the American side?
Padva: Frankly, I do not remember the name.
Q: What is going to happen now?
Padva: Now Pavel Pavlovich is going to remain in prison.
Our country, the state and mostly lawyers, Swiss,
American and Russian lawyers, will submit additional data
showing that we are right in our opinion that he should
not be extradited.
Q: And he is going to be kept in prison for so long?
Padva: Yes. How else?
Q: France Presse. Concerning the charge of belonging to a
criminal group. You mentioned two dozen accounts that got
money from a single source...
Padva: You are speaking about two dozen accounts while I
was speaking about two dozen persons.
Q: Two dozen persons with accounts, right? Am I right in
understanding that money to these accounts came from a
Q: Can you give us the names of these people? If you
can't can you at least say if there are any members of
the Kremlin administration among them? What has happened
with these accounts, have they been frozen?
Padva: There is nothing to particularly conceal here
since a lot has already been written in the press, though
not always fairly.
There is no doubt at all that one of Borodin's unofficial
accusers is a certain Turover. I believe he claimed in
one of the newspapers, I believe it was Segodnya, that
when Borodin realizes that nobody needs him, that it is
the Yeltsin family that is the target, then, supposedly,
he will start talking and then there will be full clarity.
Of course, everything began not with Borodin. Of course,
the prime aim was to prove Yeltsin's guilt. There were
certain circles and you know this very well that tried by
all sorts of ways to turn our former President Yeltsin
from a president into a defendant. All sorts of methods
were used ranging from quite legal ones of the type of
impeachment to the most illegal ones, attempts to
discredit him. And one of these attempts were the
allegations that he and his immediate surrounding, his
family in the narrow and broad meanings of the word,
possessed big dollar accounts in Switzerland. All this
was directed against Boris Nikolayevich, directly or
You mentioned the mass media. One of the first or
actually the first newspapers to write about this was
Corriera della Sera. Strange, but this newspaper turned
out somehow to be the most informed one. It knew
absolutely everything and was the first to raise this
question in the press. And it repeatedly returned to this
matter trying to persuade the public that all this is
When it was established with absolute certainty that
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin did not have and does not have
dollar accounts, the accent was shifted to the Family.
And there were attempts made to prove that Tatyana
Dyachenko has money and so on. All this also ended in
nothing. And it was just Pavel Pavlovich Borodin who
remained face to face with the Swiss law enforcement
machine. This is the soil out of which this case has
grown. And since attempts were made to smear the so-called
Family and since there were publications by one or two
persons, I mentioned one of them to you, the Swiss
authorities declared that Borodin is a member of a
criminal group without saying what the crime actually was.
You got me wrong that they all had accounts and got money
from the same source. I did not say this. I said only
that in certain instances, and please quote me correctly,
do not ascribe to me things I do not say, well, in some
instances the sources crossed one way or another. But
this does not mean at all that some criminal group of a
strange origin had existed.
If you thing hard and strain your memory, you will
remember that accounts may have the same or similar
sources. Sometimes somebody hands over something to
somebody else but this does not mean at all that this is
a criminal group. For instance, somebody owes money and
makes a transfer from his account to that of the other
person. Does this mean that they are criminals?
So far Switzerland only has isolated bank transactions
which they can interpret as they like. But nobody knows
the truth yet.
Q: Mir Novostei. A question to you as a jurist and not as
a defense lawyer. A provocative question but my
colleagues have also put it. When Borodin was arrested
and since there are lots of high-placed foreigners
staying in Russia and who have been involved in various
scandals, and the FSB and the Foreign Intelligence
Service have information about this, why did we just
arrest them and look at what the reaction to this was
going to be? Could this be done?
And the second moment. Is it possible that this is some
byzantine method of our secret services who for some
reasons cannot arrest Borodin themselves and decided to
do this with the help of others? But this is hardly the
Prosecutor General's Office considering Mr. Ustinov's and
especially Mr. Kolmogorov's good relations with Mr.
Borodin. Do you think this is possible?
Padva: I emphatically reject this even as a conjecture.
Q: And what about my first question?
Padva: My knowledge of the situation tells me that our
special services had nothing to do with this concrete
arrest. Although I do not regard our special services to
be so impeccable and not capable of such things.
Sorry, but what was your first question?
Q: What about an arrest of foreign representatives?
Padva: As you probably remember, Mr. Zhirinovsky said
this almost immediately after this happened. I don't
favor such actions. I think that if someone acts wrongly,
this gives us no right to act wrongly as well.
I remember there was a spy mania during the Cold War: you
catch our spy, we will catch ten your spies. Then they
catch 20 our spies in response and so on and so forth. Is
this a civilized way of building relations with other
countries? I think there are other ways to influence
other countries to make them respect ours.
[A question from Emperor's Clothes:
When has the United States government offered any
indication that it responds to the "civilized way of
building relations with other countries"?]
Three articles critical of the
arrest of Pavel Borodin are:
* 'Borodin Falsely Arrested -
Washington's Excuse a Lie'
by Jared Israel at
targets Russian-Belarus Union' by Jared Israel with
Statement on the arrest by Michel Chossudovsky, Jared
Israel and Nico Varkevisser. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/borodin.htm
World Ordure' by George Szamuely at http://antiwar.com/rep/szamuely/szamuely66.html
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