The once powerful Russian oligarch and now exile claims Putin is orchestrating a campaign to ruin him. Read More
LONDON, 9 June 2015 – Sergei Pugachev, a French citizen, former Russian Senator and business magnate is confirming today that he was forced to leave London and the UK due to serious concerns regarding his personal safety and increasing harassment, as part of an unlawful seizure of his assets by the Russian State.
The difficult decision to leave the UK was made after suspicious devices were discovered to have been illegally fitted on his cars. The anti-terrorist unit SO15 is investigating the crime also as a potential bomb threat and has identified the suspects.
In July 2014, The Russian State initiated interim measures in the UK to support their continuous abuse in the form of the civil case in Russia. Beyond these, there were no other claims against Mr. Pugachev in the UK.
To fight the unlawful expropriation of his business assets and forced financial ruin Pugachev has initiated an international arbitration claim against Russia.
Until his departure, Pugachev had been under the protective watch of British police, he wishes to return to the UK after the threat to his safety will be resolved:
“Even if I had police protection, had I stayed, I would still feel that my safety was severely compromised. I will return to the UK once I can be assured that the threat against my life has been eradicated”
Press Office of Sergei Pugachev
British newspaper Mirror reported that Sergei Pugachev’s vehicles were fitted with possibly explosive devices.
Sergei Pugachev commented: “Those responsible are spiralling backwards, using KGB-style methods that were better left in the past.”
If this is what happens to me outside of Russia, one can only imagine what could happen in Russia. These intimidation tactics further support the fabricated nature of the allegations against me.”
Mr Pugachev is currently believed to be under 24-hour armed police guard after anti-terror cops found devices under his vehicles in London. The devices were found after Mr Pugachev’s personal security noticed the family were being followed and reported their concerns at Belgravia police station in central London on May 19.
On June 25, 2015 the former Senator Sergei Pugachev gave an interview to the independent Russian TV channel Dozhd (TV Rain), in which he discussed the role he played in the initial election (during 2000) of the current Russian president Vladimir Putin. In a conversation with the prominent journalist and presenter, Ksenia Sobchak, Pugachev revealed his involvement within the circle of decision-makers behind the election.
Expanding on the scope of the role that he played in the formation of Putin’s presidential career, Pugachev said, “I was very involved”. The former Senator said that he “certainly” was within a “very narrow circle” of people who were the movers and shakers behind the election.
“I can honestly say that Boris Berezovsky was not a part of that circle,” – added Pugachev. He explained that, at the time, three key figures were involved in the campaign – daughter of Boris Yeltsin, Tatiana Dyachenko, her husband Valentin Yumashev, and himself.
The Ex-Senator went on to explain that the race for presidency was between two candidates: former head of the Audit Chamber Sergei Stepashin (1999 – Prime Minister) and Vladimir Putin.
According to Pugachev, at the time, Vladimir Putin “did not have the desire to be president.” “He did not have a [political] history, he didn’t go through election from any district council into the Supreme council.”
Sergei Pugachev admitted that it was he who suggested Putin’s candidacy for president – because, due to Putin’s position as the director of the FSB, he had the potential. He was “a key figure, a representative of the security forces.”
Pugachev’s relationship with Putin does go back many years, and, in his words, “continues today, just the format of this relationship has changed”. He added that although he still considers himself as having a “relationship” with the president, it has indeed “deteriorated”.
Neil Buckley, Eastern Europe Editor of the Financial Times interviewed Sergei Pugachev. He writes:
Sergei Pugachev, the exiled Russian tycoon once nicknamed the “Kremlin’s banker” has said a Russian attempt to extradite him from Britain is politically motivated and he fears being sent back to his homeland.
The industrialist says the bankruptcy was caused by the Russian state expropriating billions of dollars of assets from him, including shipyards, and construction and energy projects, after he fell out with the Kremlin, where he was once a trusted insider.
Mr Pugachev told the FT he sent a letter to Vladimir Putin last December informing the Russian president he intended to launch an international arbitration case under a bilateral investment treaty between Russia and France, of which he is a citizen.
The letter set a six-month deadline for the dispute over his business empire to be resolved through negotiations, which expired last week.
Buckley quoted Pugachev: “This is all a consequence of my fight against Russia . . . and against particular people who committed crimes during the expropriation. Everything that is happening in England and the legal prosecution in Russia has taken on an entirely punitive nature.”
Catherine Belton of the Financial Times reported:
“Moscow’s arbitration court ruled on Thursday that Sergei Pugachev should pay Rbs75.6bn ($1.5bn) for his role in the bankruptcy of Mezhprombank, the Russian bank he co-founded.”
“The ruling could open the way for the London lawyers of the DIA, Russia’s state deposit insurance agency, which is acting as the bank’s liquidator, to seek to enforce the claim by seizing the international assets of Mr Pugachev.”
“The former oligarch says the $1.5bn asset gap at the bank was instead caused by a politically motivated state takeover of his empire, led by the sale at a knockdown price of his multibillion-dollar shipyard business, shares in which had been pledged as collateral for $1.15bn in loans from the central bank.”
“One of Russia’s richest men until he fell out of favour with the Russian president and a forced state takeover was launched of his multibillion-dollar business empire, Mr Pugachev called Thursday’s decision “unprecedented and illegal”.
“He said he would appeal against the ruling, which found three of Mezhprombank’s former senior executives jointly responsible, with Mr Pugachev, for the bankruptcy.”
“Mr Pugachev said it seemed clear that the DIA had abused the London court proceedings as “an instrument for obtaining information” for the Russian court case.”
February 27, 2015 – The Appeal court of London has rendered its decision in respect of three appeals, related to the court proceedings between the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) and Sergei Pugachev.
The former senator welcomes the decision of the court to uphold the unlimited cross undertaking, which would allow him to recover from the DIA any damages that he sustains, including any losses incurred by him during the time when the asset freezing order is in place. Losses incurred during this period have already exceeded the limited cross undertaking of 75 million US dollars initially provided by the DIA to Sergei Pugachev. Appeals have been filed in respect of the court’s other decisions.
The article published by the Bloomberg stated that “Sergei Pugachyov, a former banker and confidante of Vladimir Putin, said he was placed on Interpol’s most-wanted list because of a campaign against him led by the highest echelons of Russian politics.”
“The involvement of Interpol by the Russian authorities is an attempt to give credibility to the actions of high-level Russian officials involved in the expropriation, including direct orders of President Putin and a number of Russian cabinet ministers,” Pugachyov said in a statement.
Pugachyov, who denies any wrongdoing, was subject to an earlier red notice by Interpol which was canceled after he challenged it in court. He said he plans to explore “all avenues of canceling this second notice.”
MOSCOW, 7 February 2014 – The Moscow City Court on Monday upheld the refusal of the Basmanny District Court to arrest businessman Sergei Pugachev in absentia.
It was alleged that Pugachev, a former Russian senator and founder of International Industrial Bank (IIB), was involved in misappropriation of funds and the intentional bankruptcy of IIB.
In a statement released today, Pugachev denies involvement in any wrongdoings. Pugachev’s lawyers argue that the legal proceedings have been replete with irregularities, and the wrongful application of law enforcement agencies to solve commercial disputes, echoing the experience of high profile Russian businessmen such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Under Russian law, the charges brought against Mr. Pugachev are associated with business activities, and recourse for arrest in absentia is not available. Despite these provisions, the Basmanny District Court granted an arrest warrant late last year. Defence counsel successfully argued that there were serious problems with the decision, and the ruling was quashed on appeal.
A further attempt to have the Basmanny Court grant an arrest warrant was denied in January 2014. The Moscow City Court’s decision today to uphold the refusal of the lower court highlights once again the highly irregular manner in which the justice system has been used in this matter. The charges against the former politician were met with surprise by many, given the widely held belief that Mr Pugachev, who served in the Russian Senate from December 2001 to January 2011, was close to both former President Boris Yeltsin and to current President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking for the first time about the matter, Sergei Pugachev commented: “In the last few years, law enforcement agencies have become the main tool for solving commercial disputes in Russia. Ever since I left the country, every one of my main domestic assets has been facing raiding attempts or expropriation. I have also been on the receiving end of threats and attempts at extortion. The unsubstantiated criminal allegations against me are consistent with that.The International Industrial Bank was founded by me more than 20 years ago but after I disposed of my shares over ten years ago, I no longer had any involvement, let alone control over its activities. If its bankruptcy was indeed intentional, it would have to have been instigated by the Russian Central Bank, which closely supervised its activities, and the Central Bank’s Chairman.”
The case re-ignites the public debate about the Russian justice system and its impact on doing business in the country, at a time when Russia is in desperate need of inward investment. The pardoning of Mikhail Khordorkovsky late last year and the release of his business associate Platon Lebedev in January had been interpreted as signs Russia’s authorities were taking steps to appease international opinion. The authorities’ continued pursuit of Mr Pugachev, along with his statement made today that his domestic assets have been subject to raids and attempts at expropriation, goes against this trend. In an interview on 15 January 2014 with Radio Ekho Moskvy, counsel for the defence Aleksandr Gofstein said that Sergei Pugachev will plead not guilty and the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence, “the fact is that there was no crime, and that’s why there is no documentary evidence of criminal activity.”
Press Office of Sergei Pugachev