Russian prosecutors asked Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant for Bank of Moscow’s former Chief Executive Officer Andrei Borodin.
Borodin and Dmitry Akulinin, a former vice president at the lender, are wanted for fraud in connection with the misappropriation of government funds, the Prosecutor General’s Office in Moscow said in an e-mailed statement today.
Ousted Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov returned to Russia from abroad to appear last week as a witness in a case involving City Hall’s purchase of a stake in Bank of Moscow in 2009 for about 15 billion rubles ($478 million). The bank then fraudulently lent almost 13 billion rubles to property company ZAO Premier Estate, funds which ended up in a bank account controlled by Luzhkov’s wife, Yelena Baturina, according to investigators.
Russian regulators agreed to provide a record 395 billion-ruble bailout for Bank of Moscow in July after state-run VTB Group bought the city government’s 46.5 percent stake in the lender and uncovered bad debts.
The ex-mayor, fired last year after almost two decades in power, and his wife have denied wrongdoing. Baturina, who became Russia’s richest woman during her husband’s stewardship of Europe’s largest city, has ignored repeated summons to testify as a witness, saying she was outside Russia, the Interior Ministry said in an Oct. 28 statement.
Investigators are ready to involve Interpol and turn for legal assistance to relevant agencies in the U.K. and Austria if Baturina fails to appear, the ministry said.
“It is hardly a coincidence that this step should reportedly be taken immediately after my public statement that the takeover of Bank of Moscow was politically motivated and who was involved in achieving that,” Borodin said in a statement e-mailed today.
Borodin said neither he nor his lawyers have yet been informed of an international arrest warrant issued against him in Russia and that he has “nothing to hide or be ashamed of,” according to the statement.
Russian state media accused Luzhkov, 74, of corruption and favoritism toward his wife in the run-up to the ex-mayor’s sacking in September 2010 by President Dmitry Medvedev. Both denied any illegal activities.
Investigators haven’t provided any proof of wrongdoing or financial losses caused by Borodin and the loan to Premier Estate is being repaid on schedule, Borodin’s lawyer, Mikhail Dolomanov, said in July.
Baturina said Sept. 28 that she sold a land plot to Premier Estate for 12.6 billion rubles in May 2009, leading to the legitimate transfer of the funds to her account.