The man who used to be known as “the Kremlin’s banker” is suing Russia.
On Monday, Sergei Pugachev filed a claim against Russia for over $US10 billion over the state’s appropriation of his assets, according to Reuters.
The case will likely be heard in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Pugachev claims that the Kremlin intentionally crippled his business empire by way of the “unlawful taking of his businesses,” according to an anonymous source close to the banker. The same source said that the full details of Pugachev’s claim will be revealed on Tuesday in Paris.
Interpol currently has an arrest warrant out for Pugachev. The Russian government is seeking his arrest for embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, charges that predate his own suit. Pugachev denies the charges.
Russian authorities claim that Pugachev took over $US700 million for himself from funds reserved for the bailout of Mezhoprombank, the international bank that he founded in 1992.
Pugachev was a big player in Moscow during Putin’s first two terms. Within four years of founding Mezhoprombank, he was a “Kremlin powerbroker,” helping politicians win elections and speaking to Putin “almost every day probably.”
But in Russia’s inner financial circles, nothing ever lasts. Relations soured in 2010, and he ultimately fled to London in 2011.
In March, Pugachev told the Financial Times that he would be representing himself in Russia’s case against him. He said that he only has £45,000 (about $US70,200) left in accounts and can’t afford lawyers.
Pugachev also recently told Dozhd that he was one-third of a trio “at the helm of ‘operation successor,'” along with Yeltsin’s daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, and her husband, Valentin Yumashev.
He even claimed that he was actually the one who suggested professional spy Vladimir Putin as a candidate — not Yeltsin-era oligarch Boris Berezovksy, who had been widely credited with anointing Putin.
Pugachev did concede that Putin was already an “insider” by that time, although he doesn’t think Putin’s plan led to the presidency.
“Putin is not someone who sets strategic plans; he lives today.” Pugachev told Time last October. “He had no plans; he didn’t aim to become president. He hadn’t thought of that. He didn’t plan to remain in the government at all.”
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