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Russia Sends U.K. Ex-Bank of Moscow CEO Extradition Request

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office sent the U.K. a request for the extradition of Bank of Moscow’s former Chief Executive Officer Andrei Borodin.

Prosecutors, who issued an international arrest warrant for Borodin in November, say the banker and Dmitry Akulinin, a former vice president at the lender, are wanted in connection with the embezzlement of Moscow City Hall funds, the office said in a statement e-mailed today. Borodin is innocent and the case against him is politically-motivated, his defense team said today in an e-mailed statement.

Russian regulators agreed to provide a record 395 billion-ruble ($13.5 billion) bailout for Bank of Moscow last July after state-run VTB Group bought the city government’s 46.5 percent stake in the lender and uncovered bad debts. Borodin denies any wrongdoing and said the bank’s takeover was “political.”

Ousted Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov was questioned in November as a witness in the case involving City Hall’s purchase of a stake in Bank of Moscow in 2009 for about 15 billion rubles. 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.

‘All Possible Steps’

Russia hasn’t provided any proof of wrongdoing or financial losses caused by Borodin and the loan to Premier Estate is being repaid on schedule, his lawyer, Mikhail Dolomanov said in July.

“Mr. Borodin will take all possible steps to defend himself legally,” his defense team said. “Fortunately, the judicial system in the U.K. is totally different to what is called a ‘court’ in Russia.”

Russia has accused the U.K. of blocking extradition of Russian citizens wanted for trial. Russia has unsuccessfully sought the extradition of Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, one-time billionaire Boris Berezovsky and other businessmen accused of fraud, some of whom have received political asylum.

Russia’s ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Yakovenko, in September urged Britain to extradite 43 Russian citizens.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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