GENEVA, October 6 (RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Andrianova) - The lawyers of a former Russian atomic energy minister intend to appeal a Swiss court's ruling to extradite him to the United States where he is wanted on embezzlement charges, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Justice Department said Thursday.
Yevgeny Adamov's Swiss lawyer Stephan Werenberg said earlier he would challenge the U.S.' priority in having the former minister extradited and would instead seek to have him extradited to Russia, which fears Adamov could be forced to reveal classified nuclear information to U.S. authorities.
The Swiss Justice Department ruled Monday to extradite Adamov. After his defense team announced their decision to challenge the decision Wednesday, they were given 30 days to file an appeal. Adamov will remain in a Berne prison until the Federal Court's ruling on the appeal.
Adamov, 66, who was nuclear minister from 1998 to 2001, was arrested May 2 in Berne upon the request of U.S. authorities. He is accused of embezzling more than $9 million allocated by the U.S. government in the early 1990s for research into nuclear safety. If found guilty in the U.S., Adamov could face 60 years in prison and a fine of $1.75 million.
Both Russia, which has also opened a criminal case against Adamov accusing him of fraud and abuse of office, and the U.S. sought his extradition from Switzerland.