MOSCOW, November 21 - RAPSI. Yury Luzhkov, the former Moscow mayor, who is a witness in a criminal case relating to the Bank of Moscow, answered a dozen of questions in writing at the Interior Ministry's Investigative Department.
The department opened a criminal case against former Bank of Moscow President Andrey Borodin and his deputy Dmitry Akulinin in late 2010. Borodin and Akulinin were charged with embezzling 12.76 billion rubles ($404 million) from the Moscow budget through a loan to the Premier Estate company.
Prior to granting the loan to Premier Estate, the bank issued new shares worth 15 billion. The stake was purchased by the Moscow government, the bank's majority shareholder.
The Premier Estate used the funds to purchase 58 hectare land plot on the west of Moscow from a company owned by Luzhkov's wife Yelena Baturina. Investigators say the bank's personnel was well aware of the false information the borrower submitted about the pledge to secure the loan. Meanwhile, Baturina's Inteco development company claims the deal was legal.
Luzhkov arrived to the Investigative department on November 15 to testify in the fraud case. The department's spokesperson said Luzhkov spoke in generalities while answering investigators' questions. Investigators are now expected to examine the former Moscow mayor's testimony and to ask more specific questions if needed, she added. Luzhkov committed to testify again.
Luzhkov said he was surprised with the comments. "I was surprised when the department's spokeswoman said I spoke in generalities although I gave clear-cut answers to the questions in strict compliance with the legislation. I was definitely surprised with her statement. I think it is indecent of her to say like this," Luzhkov said.