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Russia says bank rep. sought bribe

Jan. 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

MOSCOW, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Russian officials said they had charged former development bank representative Yelena Kotova with attempting to solicit a bribe.

The Interior Ministry said Kotova, former representative to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Igor Lebedev, a bank manager at a large Russian bank, had sought a bribe of $1.4 million to help a Canadian energy company secure an EBRD loan.

"During the investigation, enough evidence was collected to charge Kotova and Lebedev. ... The investigation into the criminal case is about to enter its final phase," the Interior Ministry said.

Kotova called the accusation politically motivated, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday. Attorney Sergei Mirzoyev said the charges were "unfounded" and "politically biased."

EBRD, which provides loans for development in 29 countries From Central Europe to Central Asia, withdrew Kotova's diplomatic immunity along with that of three of her deputies after a bank investigation found they had violated the bank's code of ethics.

Previously, she served on the bank's board of directors for five years, but she was fired in December 2010 by the Russian Economic Development Ministry, RIA Novosti reported.

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