MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti)
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Investigators in the Bahamas have told Russia they are opening a criminal investigation into former Bank of Moscow chief Andrei Borodin, a Russian official close to the investigation of embezzlement by the bank’s former management said on Wednesday.
“The criminal prosecution is related to the laundering of criminally-obtained funds,” the official said.
Russia’s law-enforcement agencies have not yet officially commented on the information.
On Tuesday, Estonia informed Russia it was bringing criminal proceedings against Borodin following two requests from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office.
Russian investigators have impounded $400 million worth of foreign bank assets held by Borodin and his former first deputy Dmitry Akulinin, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
Borodin's lawyer, however, said this information was inaccurate and outdated.
Russia launched a criminal case against Borodin and Akulinin in late 2010 on charges of fraud involving state funds. They are accused of improperly lending $443 million to shell companies, which then transferred the cash to Yelena Baturina, wife of former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, and owner of the construction empire Inteco.
The bank, Russia's fifth largest, had to be bailed out to the tune of $14 billion in July 2011, the biggest rescue of a financial institution in Russian history.
Borodin, who headed the Bank of Moscow, which functioned as the capital's chief investment vehicle under Luzhkov, fled to the United Kingdom in 2011 before the bailout, and then fought to oppose it being taken over by Russian state lender VTB.
The Russian investigative authorities probing the Borodin case are currently interacting with the law-enforcement agencies of Liechtenstein, Cyprus, The Bahamas, Latvia and other countries.
Borodin ranked 117th in the Forbes-2012 List of Russia’s wealthiest people with an estimated fortune of $800 million.
Borodin paid 140 million pounds ($219 million) for an estate near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire last summer, making the property Britain’s most expensive house, The Sunday Times reported in August.
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, an island group in the Caribbean, has a large financial sector which accounts for 15 percent of GDP.
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