News Daily Spot: High court issues arrest warrant for 'Putin's banker' Sergei Pugachev

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High court issues arrest warrant for 'Putin's banker' Sergei Pugachev

Source: TheGuardian
A British court has issued an arrest warrant for a former Russian billionaire who fled Britain this year claiming his life was in danger.
Sergei Pugachev, once known as “Putin’s banker” because of his close relationship with the Russian president, is embroiled in a bitter battle with the Kremlin. He claims it seized his business empire and has filed a $12bn (£8bn) compensation claim against it.
Russian prosecutors accuse Pugachev of siphoning taxpayers money given to his Mezhprombank. He denies the allegation, saying it was used as an excuse to seize his assets after he fell out with Vladimir Putin.
Following an application by Russia’s state deposit agency (DIA), the British courts ordered that Pugachev’s global assets be frozen, that he hand over his Russian and French passports and that he remain in the UK while an investigation was being conducted.

Instead, Pugachev, who was living in London with his partner, Alexandra Tolstoy, and their three children, disappeared in June. He resurfaced at his chateau near Nice in southern France. Moscow has put him on an Interpol wanted list.
On Thursday evening, the DIA said: “The high court … has today issued a warrant for the immediate arrest of Sergei Viktorovich Pugachev.
“On 17 November 2015, Mr Justice Norris ordered Mr Pugachev to give an undertaking to the English court that he will attend in person the hearing of committal applications brought by the DIA in connection with 17 separate allegations of contempt of court resulting from numerous breaches by Mr Pugachev of the English court’s orders.
“The committal hearing is due to commence on 7 December 2015 and, if Mr Pugachev is found to be in contempt of court, he may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to two years.”
The DIA said it remained fully committed to taking all appropriate steps to enforce its judgment against Pugachev, adding that he was liable for 75.6bn rubles (£740m).
His representative in London told the Guardian that the arrest warrant was a “technicality”, adding: “As a French citizen Sergei Pugachev does not fall under the jurisdiction of the English courts. In any case we are expecting this decision to be reversed at a hearing on Monday.
“The reason Sergei Pugachev cannot come back is the reason he left in the first place which is that he found out that in the UK someone was planning his murder. There was an order to murder him, he found out and that is why he left.”

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