Ex-Moscow mayor Luzhkov ‘to cooperate’ over bank fraud inquiry

Former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov will continue cooperating with investigators over an inquiry into an alleged $414-million bank fraud, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Luzhkov, who lost his job last year after 18 years in City Hall, was questioned over the fraud case at the Interior Ministry earlier on Tuesday.

The case involves the Bank of Moscow, partly-owned by the Russian capital’s city government during Luzhkov’s term in office, which lent 12.76 billion rubles ($413.3 million) to an obscure real estate firm.

The firm used the money to buy land for a construction company owned by Luzhkov’s billionaire wife, Yelena Baturina, at prices investigators said were inflated.

“Yury Mikhailovich [Luzhkov] answered every question put to him,” lawyer Genry Reznik told reporters.

He declined to say whether Luzhkov’s wife will also be summoned for questioning.

The 75-year-old has been accused of using his post to help Baturina amass her fortune, a claim he denies. Until recently, Baturina – estimated to be worth some $1.1 billion – was Russia’s richest woman.

Prior to the questioning today, Reznik said Luzhkov was “in a good mood.”

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