Belarus: Zeltser

On May 6, 2008, reports indicated that US national Emanuel Zeltser was detained when he flew in to Belarus on March 12, 2008. He was held in a state security services detention facility in the capital, Minsk, where according to his lawyer he has been interrogated and beaten, and has been denied the medicine he needs urgently to treat his diabetes and arthritis


On March 21, 2008, he was charged with "use of forged documents." The US Embassy in Minsk had been allowed to visit him only twice, on March 27 and April 25. After the second visit, the US Consul reported that Emanuel Zeltser's health was failing, noting that he had lost weight, was very weak and had difficulty walking and talking, and that he had been beaten two or three times while in custody.


According to reports, Mr. Zeltser is a lawyer and a specialist on money laundering and organized crime. In 1999 he testified before the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services regarding the estimated $10 billion money-laundering scheme at the Bank of New York, which is now known as Bank of New York Mellon. He also sued the bank for $2 billion on behalf of depositors who had lost money in an affiliate.


In the late 1990s, Emanuel Zeltser also represented a former Kremlin official, Pavel Borodin, when Borodin was charged by a Swiss court with money laundering.


In June 2008, the Law Society sent letters of intervention to the government of Belarus.


Letter of Intervention