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Russia Court Puts SocGen Unit CEO in House Arrest, Lawyer Says

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- A Moscow court today put the head of Societe Generale SA’s Russian unit under house arrest for two months on charges of commercial bribery, his lawyer Dmitry Kharitonov said by phone.

OAO Rosbank Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Golubkov was caught in a sting operation with cash on his desk allegedly from a client seeking to modify the terms of a loan. He faces as long as seven years in prison if convicted, according to Kharitonov.

Golubkov, who denies any wrongdoing, had requested to be released on bail of 45 million rubles ($1.4 million), the lawyer said. His former boss at Rosbank, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, sent a request to the court asking for Golubkov, who he said “had always been an honest and professional person,” not to be held in detention.

Golubkov is one of the most senior bankers ever arrested for bribery in Russia, according to the Interior Ministry. When his office was raided, the CEO had 5 million rubles ($159,000) of the $1.5 million he demanded from a company to prolong a loan and reduce its interest rate, according to police.

Golubkov joined Rosbank in 1999 and became CEO in September 2008 after Paris-based Societe Generale, France’s second-biggest lender, gained control, according to Rosbank’s website. Born in 1966, he graduated from Moscow State Technical University in 1990.

After the sting operation, Rosbank named First Deputy CEO Igor Antonov as interim chief.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anton Doroshev in Moscow at adoroshev@bloomberg.net; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net

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

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