London court rules to freeze former Russian senator’s assets
MOSCOW, July 17 (RAPSI) – A court in London has ruled in favor of the Russian Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) and issued an order to freeze more than $2 billion worth of assets belonging to Sergei Pugachev, a former Russian senator and banker, Reuter writes.
The former banker, who left Russia for the UK in 2011, was charged with embezzlement/misappropriation in Russia. If found guilty, he can spend a long time in prison.
Pugachev, who represented the Republic of Tyva in the Russian parliament’s upper house, has been notified of the requirement to disclose information about his assets to the DIA by July 19.
Pugachev was the main beneficiary of the midsized lender Mezhprombank, which defaulted on its debts and lost its banking license after receiving a 40-billion-ruble ($1.2 billion) bailout from Russia’s Central Bank.
The court declared Mezhprombank bankrupt in November 2010 and opened a criminal case in January 2011. The actions of unidentified bank managers were defined at the time as “illegal operations in the process of bankruptcy filing and deliberate bankruptcy.”
Several people were later named in connection with that case, but Pugachev was not among them. According to the media, he was not officially a co-owner of the bank, even though he is believed to be its largest beneficiary.
The investigators wanted to question Pugachev, but he refused to cooperate and did not respond to their summons. He was therefore put on the national, and later international, wanted list. A court in Moscow issued a warrant for his arrest in absentia.
The bank’s creditors include the Central Bank of Russia, state-owned bank VTB and steelmaker Severstal.