Russia to ‘take measures’ if Luzhkov fails to show up for inquiry

Russia’s Interior Ministry has said it may take measures against former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov if he fails to respond to a summons for questioning.

Luzhkov failed to appear at Moscow’s investigative unit earlier on Friday for questioning over a corruption inquiry into a Moscow bank which he used to fund his wife’s property projects.

The Investigative Committee said it had been warned by Luzhkov that he was “unable to take part in investigative procedures on October 28 due to his being outside Russia,” but said it would “take measures” if the 75-year-old fails to show up next time. A new court date has not yet been set.

In January, investigators launched an inquiry into a deal under which Bank of Moscow 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 wife, Yelena Baturina, at prices investigators said were inflated.

Luzhkov said he had not received the summons and learned about it from the press.

“I haven’t received any summons because I am currently outside Russia,” he said in a letter to the Investigative Committee. “However, I am ready to come on any day after my arrival.” 

He added that he would return to Russia on November 11.

The committee said it may also ask international police agency Interpol and the UK police to help it take “comprehensive measures” towards Baturina, believed to be Russia’s richest woman.

Luzhkov has been accused of using his post to help Baturina amass her fortune, a claim he denies.

Baturina, estimated to be worth some $1.1 billion, has ignored summons for questioning. She and Luzhkov are currently attending a medical forum in Spain.

In an interview with the Izvestia newspaper, Luzhkov said he would sue Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin after the official accused him of fostering rampant corruption during his 18 years as Moscow mayor.

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