Moscow, February 12 (RAPSI, Vladimir Yaduta) - Sergei Pugachev, a former Russian senator, has been sentenced to two years in British jail on Friday for contempt of court.
Pugachev was found guilty of consistently failing to comply with orders of the High Court in London as he was engaged in litigation with the Russian Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) linked to the insolvency of Mezhprombank.
Pugachev breached 12 of 17 court orders, including giving false evidence and failing to list two cars, according to court records.
"The ruling of the London court is unfair. It is a direct consequence of unfair rulings which were passed by the court earlier that violate the basic human rights, such as the right to liberty of movement, the right to property," Dmitry Morochenko, a spokesman for Pugachev, told RAPSI.
He added that the ruling of London's High Court "will have no legal consequences" for Pugachev who holds a French passport.
Pugachev plans to appeal the ruling. After all means of remedy are exhausted in the UK, a complaint will be filed with the European Court of Human Rights, Morochenko said.
Mezhprombank’s license was revoked and it was declared to be insolvent in late 2010. An investigation into the bankruptcy was launched on charges of “illegal operations in the process of filing for bankruptcy and deliberate bankruptcy.” In December 2013, the agency, that had been appointed as liquidator to Mezhprombank, turned to the Moscow Commercial Court seeking to recover 75 billion rubles. Pugachev, together with some former top managers of Mezhprombank, was named a co-defendant in the case.
The DIA alleged that Pugachev extracted money from the bank for his benefit when it was already bankrupt.
In April 2015, Russian court found all the defendants guilty of bankruptcy fraud. An Interpol arrest warrant was issued afterwards for him at Russia's request.
In the meantime, the High Court in London in July of 2014 issued an order freezing $2 billion of Pugachev’s assets.
Last March Pugachev was prohibited from leaving the UK. The court dismissed his motion for a complaint challenging seizure of the passports and prohibition to leave the country.
In breach of this prohibition, since June Pugachev resides in France. He left Britain on security concerns because of an assassination threat, according to Dmitry Morochenko, a spokesman for Pugachev.
Interestingly, on December 3 London's High Court issued an arrest warrant for Pugachev as he could not guarantee his presence at a hearing in the case. At that time Morochenko told RAPSI that hat the arrest warrant was a “technicality”. Later Pugachev appeared in court through a video feed.