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Former lawmaker and banker files $12 bln lawsuit against Russia

September 22, 2015, 14:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW
At home, the former head of Mezhprombank is accused of gross misappropriation or embezzlement and abuse of office, howeverm, Kremlin says case against Pugachev is not linked with Russian officials
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Mezhprombank's office

Mezhprombank's office

© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Mashkov

MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. Sergey Pugachev, a former Russian senator and ex-CEO of Mezhprombank, which went bust in the financial crisis, has filed a lawsuit against Moscow for $12 billion, the businessman’s lawyers in France said on Tuesday.

A notification about the lawsuit to be heard at the international arbitration court in The Hague has been already sent to Russia’s authorities, including the finance, economic development, justice and foreign ministries, the lawyers said.

The Russian tycoon, who has fled to the UK and later to France, said in a statement that he was "illegally deprived of property and mining assets without any compensation."

The former Mezhprombank CEO is accused of misappropriation or large-scale embezzlement and also abuse of office.

Russia’s investigators say in 2009 the bank issued some 120 non-recoverable loans worth 64 billion rubles (around $1 billion at current exchange rate) to economic entities under Pugachev’s control.

The investigators suspect that Pugachev also embezzled 28 billion rubles ($422 million at current exchange rate) of unsecured loans issued by the Bank of Russia.

In January, Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office requested Pugachev’s extradition from the UK. A short while later the former banker left the UK in violation of the High Court’s resolution.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned against linking the investigation of the former head of Mezhprombank, Sergey Pugachev, and his personal relations with the Russian head of state.

Asked for a comment about what journalists described as a worsening in relations between Pugachev and the president, Peskov said that looking at the issue from that angle was not quite correct.

"If I am not mistaken, Pugachev is on the wanted list. Naturally, investigative and detective procedures have no bearing on personal or non-personal, friendly or non-friendly relations," Peskov said. "I would not mix up these two themes. I would proceed from the assumption that the investigative authorities have certain questions addressed to Mr. Pugachev."

He refrained from commenting on Pugachev’s lawsuit against Russia.

At home, the former head of Mezhprombank is accused of gross misappropriation or embezzlement and abuse of office.

The Investigative Committee says that Mezhprombank in 2009 issued 64 billion rubles in 120 non-recoverable loans to economic entities under Pugachev’s control. Also, the investigators suspect that Pugachev embezzled 28 billion rubles of unsecured loans issued by the Bank of Russia.

Last January, the Prosecutor-General’s Office requested Pugachev’s extradition from Britain. A short while later the former banker left the UK in violation of the High Court’s resolution. Russia’s Deputy Insurance Agency (DIA) then said that it might sue Pugachev for contempt of the High Court.

The agency says the former banker is currently in France, although his French passport has been handed over to the legal firm Hogan Lovells, which represents the DIA’s interests in Britain.

On Monday, the news arrived Pugachev had filed a lawsuit against the Russian government in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. He demands a $10-billion-dollar compensation in the Mezhprombank case.

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