The former 'Kremlin's banker' reportedly filed a $10 billion claim against Russia

Putin pugachevReuters photographerPutin and Pugachev, photo dated July 28, 2000.

The man who used to be known as “the Kremlin’s banker“reportedly filed a claim against Russia for more than $US10 billion.

Guy Faulconbridge of Reuters reports that a source close to Pugachev, on condition of anonymity, said that the claim was filed in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on Monday.

(As a reference point, $US10 billion is roughly equal to the GDP of Senegal.)

Exact details about the case are unclear at the moment.

This same court previously ordered Russia to pay $US50 billion for expropriating the assets of Yukos, once Russia’s biggest oil producer and run by ousted tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Russia is currently fighting the ruling, according to Faulconbridge.

Additionally, “Russia says Pugachev, 52, is wanted for embezzlement and misappropriation of assets after the collapse of his bank, which had gained loans from Russia’s central bank. Pugachev denies those charges,” writes Faulconbridge.

“At Russia’s request, Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Pugachev.”

Pugachev was a big player in Moscow during Putin’s first two terms. He founded Mezhpromback (International Industrial Bank) in Moscow in 1992, and within four years 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.

Recently, Pugachev told the Financial Times that he is representing himself in another legal battle (Russia’s state deposit insurance agency, the DIA, accused him of being behind the $US2 billion shortfall at Mezhprombank). He had said that he only has £45,000 (about $US70,200) left in accounts and can’t afford lawyers.

Boris yeltsin putinWikimediaBoris Yelstin, then president, and Putin, then prime minister, in December 1999.

Pugachev also recently told [independent Russian media outlet] 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.

And on top of that, Pugachev has also claimed that Putin “is the richest person in the world until he leaves power.”

“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.

Check out the whole story at Reuters here.

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