Moscow ex-mayor Luzhkov plans to sue Kremlin for defamation

Former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov is planning to file a lawsuit against the Kremlin over accusations that he allowed an unprecedented spread of corruption in the Russian capital during his term in office, the Izvestia newspaper said.

Sergei Naryshkin, the chief of presidential staff, said on Wednesday that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Luzhkov as Moscow mayor not only due to his inefficient city management but also because of the appalling level of corruption in the city.

“Responding to this accusation which appears more than a year after my resignation, I am filing a lawsuit [against the Russian authorities] for defamation,” Luzhkov said in an interview with Izvestia, published on Thursday.

“During my stay in office not a single official from the Moscow government was prosecuted for corruption,” he said, adding that the fight against corruption should be the responsibility of law enforcement bodies.

Luzhkov, who ruled Moscow for 18 years, earlier said that Moscow was a juicy tidbit for people who have already siphoned off many assets in Russia.

Russian investigators have recently summoned the disgruntled former mayor for questioning in connection with a loan of 12.7 billion rubles ($416 million) in city funds that Bank of Moscow extended to the Premier Estate bank but allegedly wound up in the personal account of his wife.

The summons came after Luzhkov criticized President Medvedev and the ruling United Russia party on Radio Liberty last week.

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