MOSCOW, September 23 (RAPSI) – Sergei Pugachev, the former beneficiary of the International Industrial Bank (IIB or Mezhprombank) and ex-member of the Russian parliament’s upper house, is hiding large sums of money which he embezzled from Mezhprombank before it went bankrupt, a government agency said in a statement.

The Russian government’s Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) said it would continue to take all possible measures to recover the money on behalf of Mezhprombank clients and in compliance with UK court rulings, the statement says.

In particular, the DIA has sent a petition to a British court to hold Pugachev in contempt. “If Pugachev is found guilty of contempt of court, he will be prosecuted and possibly given a prison sentence,” the DIA said.

According to the agency’s information, UK courts have repeatedly established that Pugachev gave unreliable testimony and violated court rulings, in particular, to remain in the UK and to hand over his French passport to the DIA’s lawyers.

Pugachev violated the latter ruling in late June 2015, when he fled the country allegedly due to concerns for his safety.

Last year, the DIA filed a lawsuit at a UK court to recover the assets that Pugachev allegedly embezzled from Mezhprombank. In July 2014, London’s High Court granted an injunction to seize $2 billion worth of Pugachev’s assets in various countries.

Pugachev appealed the decision, but in December 2014 London’s High Court refused to release his assets.

The Moscow Commercial Court declared Mezhprombank bankrupt in November 2010 after the bank defaulted 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 filing for bankruptcy and deliberate bankruptcy.”

Pugachev was charged with embezzlement and arrested in absentia. In November 2014, he was put on the international wanted list. In January 2015, Russia sent a request for extradition to the UK.