The ex-wife of an exiled oligarch is at the center of his court battle with the Russian state, with each side accusing her of working for the other.
Galina Arkhipova is the former spouse of Sergei Pugachev, once an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pugachev is accused of siphoning more than $1 billion from a bailout of International Industrial Bank, which he co-founded. The ex-senator denies the allegations, which he calls part of a politically motivated campaign to confiscate his wealth.
The Deposit Insurance Agency, a Russian agency in charge of liquidating the bank, was in a London court this month to try to force Arkhipova to turn over paperwork in the case. The DIA accuses the divorcees of working together to protect Pugachev’s assets, an allegation he said was “an exceptional lie” in an email sent to Bloomberg.
In its filing to the London High Court, the DIA accuses Pugachev of asking her to make claims to frustrate confiscation orders. Pugachev, who now lives in France, makes his own allegation: that Arkhipova is acting in “collusion” with the DIA to “distract” his attention from his own lawsuit in Russia over its seizure of his assets. A legal representative for Pugachev repeated the allegation in email to Bloomberg.
Neither Pugachev nor his wife, Galina Arkhipova, were in the London court or had attorneys there.
The DIA and its attorneys at Hogan Lovells declined to comment on the case. Representatives for Arkhipova didn’t respond to emails requesting comment.
The London case — set for trial in early 2020 — revolves around a mansion in London’s upscale Chelsea neighborhood that he bought for 7.9 million pounds ($10 million) in 2011.
Five years ago, a London court froze his assets, beginning a global battle by the Russian state to claim what it says it’s owed. Arkhipova filed for divorce that same year, and started claiming her interests in some of their possessions.
The DIA is questioning whether the house was purchased while the couple was still married, and last week, its attorneys got an order forcing Arkhipova to hand over documents that could prove the timing of the end of the marriage.
The agency points to a July 2014 statement in a Moscow divorce court where Arkhipova said that she hadn’t had lived with Pugachev since 2002.
The DIA says Arkhipova is making only “desultory” attempts to disclose documents, which she says were lost when laptops were seized by Russian authorities in 2016.