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Congressman Urge Checks on Kiriyenko

Published: June 29, 2004 (Issue # 981)



  • Sergei Kiriyenko
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW - Five American congressmen are asking U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to investigate whether former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko might be seeking a U.S. residence permit and might have played a role in the disappearance of a multibillion-dollar IMF loan during his tenure.

Kiriyenko, now the presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, angrily denounced the allegations Monday as "a bold lie."

The five congressman, all Republican members of the House of Representatives, said in a letter to Powell that "Western European sources" had informed them that Kiriyenko recently purchased property in Illinois possibly in order to apply for permanent U.S. residence, and they expressed concern over the origins of any money he might have invested in the United States.

"In 1998, when Kiriyenko was prime minister, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released $4.8 billion in aid to Russia. This money apparently never reached the Russian government and is now completely unaccounted for," said the June 4 letter, a copy of which was obtained by The St Petersburg Times.

"As you know, a foreigner who invests $1 million in a company in the United States can apply for U.S. permanent residence, or a green card' as it is colloquially known, provided that certain business condition are met. Our sources indicate that Mr. Kiriyenko purchased property in the Chicago area, and may have submitted an application for permanent residence status," the letter said.

"If these allegations are true, we urge you to work with all appropriate government agencies, including the Bureau of Customs and Immigration Enforcement to determine the intentions of Mr. Kiriyenko and determine the origins of his funds," it said.

The letter's signatories are Philip Crane of Wauconda, Illinois; Mike Pence of Columbus, Indiana; Charles Norwood of Evans, Georgia; Dan Burton of Indianapolis, Indiana; and Henry Bonilla of San Antonio, Texas.

None of the congressmen were available for comment Monday.

The U.S. State Department's Europe and Russia Affairs Desk was aware of reports about the letter and was waiting to receive a copy of it before issuing a comment, said a spokeswoman from Washington.

Kiriyenko suggested that the congressmen might not have known all the facts before they signed the letter.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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