London court dismisses Russian tycoon Pugachev’s complaint over searches - DIA
MOSCOW, July 28 (RAPSI) – London's High Court dismissed a complaint filed by Sergei Pugachev, an exiled Russian tycoon, over a court order authorising searches at his sites in London and documents seizure, the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday.
In mid-July, the DIA, the liquidator of Mezhprombank, was granted an injunction to freeze £1.17 billion ($1.8bln) worth of Pugachev’s assets in various countries, including his two London homes and a villa in Nice.
According to the DIA, Pugachev has fled to France even though his French passport had been turned over to the law firm Hogan Lovells, which represents DIA’s interests in the UK.
The DIA said London’s High Court also dismissed Pugachev’s allegations that the agency did not provide full information to the court. The court concluded that despite Pugachev’s numerous complaints about the “expropriation” of his assets, the DIA has an exceptionally strong legal position against the ex-banker.
The court also said that Pugachev’s actions during the trial in London would not have any serious consequences for him. According to the DIA, the court also called in question Pugachev’s argument that he had to leave the UK because of “serious concerns regarding his personal safety and increasing harassment as part of an unlawful seizure of his assets by the Russian state.”
The DIA writes that the court has upheld the search and seizure warrant and also requested that Pugachev provide additional information about several transactions allegedly carried out to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars from Mezhprombank to an account at a private bank in Switzerland. The court has also confirmed the Passport Order for the seizure of passports or other travel documents.
On June 18, the Ninth Court of Appeals upheld a Moscow Commercial Court decision that charged Pugachev and several other top executives at Mezhprombank with secondary liability under a lawsuit against the bank’s bankruptcy filed by the Deposit Insurance Agency. The Moscow court found them guilty of knowingly bankrupting the bank, primarily through the transfer of liquid assets.
Last year, the DIA asked the court to debit a total of 68.481 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) from Pugachev and Marina Illarionova, the last CEO of Mezhprombank, and 7.161 billion rubles from two former chief executives, Alexander Didenko and Alexei Zlobin. The Moscow Commercial Court ruled for the DIA’s claim.
This was the largest amount ever assigned for secondary liability in Russia.
The Moscow Commercial Court declared Mezhprombank bankrupt in November 2010 after the bank defaulted on its debts and received a 40-billion-ruble bailout from Russia’s Central Bank. The DIA was appointed liquidator of Mezhprombank’s assets.
An investigation into the bankruptcy was launched in January 2011 on suspicion of “illegal operations in the process of bankruptcy filing and deliberate bankruptcy.”
Pugachev was eventually charged with embezzlement and arrested in absentia. In November 2014, he was put on the international wanted list, and in January 2015, Russia sent a request for extradition to the UK.
Pugachev has previously claimed he is being persecuted for political reasons and denies any wrongdoing.