ARRESTED EX-MINISTER ADAMOV CALLS CHARGES A PROVOCATION

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GENEVA, May 6 (RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Andrianova) - Following his meeting with Russian diplomats, Russia's former atomic energy minister, Yevgeny Adamov, currently under arrest in Bern, said the charges against him were a "provocation" and pleaded not guilty.

"When talking about the charges he is facing, Adamov said that they were a provocation and that he considers himself innocent," said Igor Petrov, the press attache of the Russian embassy in Switzerland.

He quoted Adamov as saying that he intended to defend himself at all costs, with the help of his Russian, Swiss and US lawyers.

"He [Adamov] has already been visited in prison. Adamov has no complaints about his treatment, he is in good physical and psychological shape," said Petrov.

An official of the Russian embassy in Bern and a representative of the consular service visited Adamov in jail.

"We agreed that embassy officials would keep in touch with him, provide him with newspapers and books he asked for," said Petrov.

Adamov has all the contact information about the Russian embassy in Bern, so he can get in touch with them and ask for a meeting with Russian diplomats at any moment, he added.

Adamov headed the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry in 1998-2001. He was detained in Bern on May 2 this year at the request of the US Department of Justice. US authorities accuse him of misappropriating up to $9 million that the US Department of Energy allocated for improving Russia's nuclear security system.

According to Mary Buchanan, the US attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, if proved guilty, Adamov will face 60 years in prison and a fine of $1.750 million.

According to her, the charges brought against Adamov are pursuant to 20 articles of the US criminal code, including tax evasion and money laundering.

Adamov's business partner, US citizen Mark Kaushansky from the former USSR, is the other defendant on the case. According to Buchanan, Kaushansky may be in for 180 years in jail and a fine of $5 million.

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