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Ex-Russian nuclear power minister Yevgeny Adamov has pleaded not guilty
Ex-Russian nuclear power minister Yevgeny Adamov, who has been charged with fraud and abuse of office, has pleaded not guilty. "As there are neither elements nor the event of a crime, you cannot be guilty of what does not exist," Adamov told journalists. Adamov, 67, has been charged with leading an organized criminal group that inflicted damages to the Russian budget, enterprises and organizations totaling over 3 billion rubles (about $110 million). Adamov, as well as his co-defendants in the case - Vyacheslav Pismennyi, former director of the Troitsky research center, and Revmir Fraishtut, former director of TechSnabExport - said Monday following the hearing that he does not understand the indictment. Adamov said his only fault was the "untimely nomination for awards of people who prevented the sector from being ruined." The hearing will resume January 17. The prosecution has about 50 witnesses, while the defense plans to summon some 10 people for questioning. The Prosecutor General's Office said another person accused in the Adamov case - Globe Nuclear Services and Supply president Alexander Chernov - is on an international wanted list. Prosecutors have accused the defense team of deliberately delaying the trial, as court sessions were postponed many times due to Pismennyi's alleged illness or the absence of his lawyer. The ex-minister was originally arrested in Switzerland in May 2005 at the request of the United States, where authorities accuse him of misappropriating $9 million given to Russia for nuclear safety projects. Had he been convicted in the U.S., Adamov would have faced 60 years in prison. He was extradited to Russia in early 2006 to face charges, but was released by the Russian Supreme Court July 21, after a total of 15 months in prison, to await trial. Adamov, who served from 1998 to 2001 as Russia's nuclear power minister, said in October he will insist on a trial in a U.S. court, although the U.S. authorities have accused him of a crime they said was committed in Russia. On October 16, the Moscow City Court canceled the Zamoskvoretsky District Court's earlier decision to send Adamov's case back to the Prosecutor General's Office for a clarification of the charges. The city court thereby upheld an appeal by prosecutors against the district court decision. Prosecutors demanded that the case should instead be sent for retrial in the district court.
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