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Russia: Chubais To Brief Journalists On Scandal Allegations

By Michael Sokolov

Moscow, 15 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The Kremlin's press secretary says Russian presidential administration head Anatoly Chubais plans to brief journalists later today on the publication of an alleged transcript implying a cover-up during Yeltsin's election campaign.

A leading Moscow newspaper, "Movskovsky Komsomolets," today published what it said were transcripts of a June conversation between Yeltsin's top aides during the height of the presidential campaign. According to the alleged transcript, the three aides, including Chubais, agreed to hush up the incriminating arrests of two campaign workers.

The two men arrested were accused of carrying $500,000 dollars in cash out of the main government building on June 19, three days after the first-round of presidential elections. Some Russian news reports at the time said the money was intended for reimbursing Russian pop stars who performed during the campaign.

Chubais, then a top Yeltsin campaign aide and since promoted to his chief of staff, has denied the two were carrying any money and called the arrests a KGB-style provocation by political rivals.

Kremlin press-secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky today told a news conference in Moscow that Chubais flatly denied the June conversation with former Yeltsin's aide Viktor Ilyushin and presidential aide Sergei Krasavchenko ever took place.

Yastrzhembsky said the publication was another step in what he called "the disgusting war of pseudo-compromising materials designed to agitate Moscow "

He said he had not yet had an opportunity to discuss the publication with President Boris Yeltsin and that Chubais was planning to hold a press-conference on the issue later today.

The State Duma today discussed the allegations. The discussion was initiated by deputy speaker Sergei Baburin, who said that, if the transcript is genuine, the scandal "may undermine the entire constitutional order" in the country. Baburin said that if, however, the publication proves to be a provocation, action should be taken against the newspaper. The Duma will vote this evening on the establishment of a special enquiry commission into the issue.