Former Russian oligarch Sergei Pugachyov suing kremlin for $15 billlion

By Jared M. Feldschreiber  |  July 2, 2015 at 6:02 PM
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MOSCOW, July 2 (UPI) -- Sergei Pugachyov, a former Russian oligarch once known as the Kremlin's banker, is suing Russia for $15 billion over what he describes as illegal appropriation of his assets.

Currently in exile in London, Pugachyov is wanted by Russia's judicial authorities, The Moscow Times reports. Last November, Interpol put the Russian tycoon on its wanted list.

Pugachyov fled Russia for London in 2011 after a criminal investigation opened following the 2010 collapse of his co-owned bank Mezhprombank. The Moscow Times also reported Pugachyov siphoned off state funds given to his bank after the 2008 financial crisis, creating a $2 billion shortfall.

The former billionaire contends that the state expropriated his business, "including the forced fire sale of shipyards worth billions of dollars to the massive state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation," according to Russian news.

Pugachyov maintains his innocence, but in December 2014 he lost a British appeal to overturn the court order that froze $2 billion of his assets. "It may be that if Mr Pugachev has disclosed all his assets correctly [a fact that the claimants do not accept] then his assets would discharge only a small part of the enormous claim if the claim is good," Mr Justice Mann said in his ruling.

Pugachyov remains married to his wife Galina but he resides with broadcaster Alexandra Tolstoy, with whom he has two young sons and a baby daughter.

Two years ago, former Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky was found dead in a bath at his home in London. In that case, suicide was suspected.

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