Congressman Urge Checks on Kiriyenko
Published: June 29, 2004 (Issue # 981)
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.Pages: