Andrei Borodin, the former Bank of Moscow chief executive wanted in Russia in connection with the embezzlement of Moscow City Hall funds, said he was granted political asylum in England.
The criminal charges against him are “baseless and without merit,” the Russian billionaire said in a statement on his website today. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office asked the U.K. a year ago to extradite Borodin.
“I have always maintained that the allegation made against me and the charges brought by the Russian Federation are without foundation and are politically motivated,” Borodin said in the statement.
Russian regulators bailed out the Bank of Moscow in 2011 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 says the bank’s takeover was “political.” VTB said in August that the transaction was “a purely strategic deal and not a political one.”
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.
A U.K. Border Agency spokesman declined to comment on Borodin’s asylum claim.