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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

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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