Bank of Moscow President Andrei Borodin reiterated on Saturday that he has no plans to seek political asylum in the U.K. and said he hopes to eventually mend fences with Russia’s leaders.
“I would not like to take this step,” he replied when asked about rumors he was planning to follow in the footsteps of fugitive Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky and request asylum from U.K. authorities.
“It isn’t worth arguing with the state to the bitter end,” he told the REN-TV channel, adding that to do so would be the action of a “crazy man.”
Investigators have alleged that Borodin – currently undergoing medical treatment in the U.K. – granted an illegal $444 million loan to Yelena Baturina, wife of Yury Luzhkov, the capital’s former mayor.
A politically-tinged fight for control over the Bank of Moscow has been going on since February, when Russia’s second largest bank, state-controlled VTB, announced a gradual acquisition of Luzhkov’s former investment vehicle. The Moscow government sold its stake in the bank to VTB after President Dmitry Medvedev fired Luzhkov last fall over a “lack of trust.”
Borodin told RIA Novosti on Friday he had sold his 20.3% stake in the bank, owned jointly with his aide Lev Alaluyev, to an unidentified investor. He also added that he was not satisfied with the deal. A VTB official said the bank did not buy Borodin’s share.
Aside from former Kremlin insider Berezovsky, London is home to a number of Russians fleeing allegations of wrongdoing in their homeland. There is no extradition treaty between the two countries.
MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti)