Russia sold British estate of ex-Senator Pugachev to pay off his bank’s debts

Russia sold British estate of ex-Senator Pugachev to pay off his bank’s debts
Sergey Pugachev

The deal amounted to 1.6 million pounds.⁠

The Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) has sold the Lower Venn Farm estate in the British county of Herefordshire – the foreign asset of former Senator and owner of Mezhprombank (MPB) Sergey Pugachev, accused of embezzling 28 billion rubles ($494.144.000) from the clients of the bank he founded in his homeland. The deal amounted to 1.6 million pounds sterling (115 million rubles), as reported on DIA’s website on Wednesday.

It is specified that the deal was closed on March 17, and the net proceeds from the sale were transferred to the bankruptcy estate of MPB. The total amount of proceeds in the bank’s favor based on the results of foreign legal proceedings against Pugachev currently exceeds $4.2 million.

The state agency, which is the bankruptcy supervisor of MPB, also tries to sell other assets owned or controlled by Sergey Pugachev. They include several luxury real estate items in France (including the villas Chateau de Garo, Annushka, Chalet Valberg, and a villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat), the cost of which, according to the DIA, is tens of millions of dollars.

In addition, the agency intends to sell a luxury yacht registered in the Cayman Islands, as well as and various valuable assets, which are formally managed through discretionary trusts in New Zealand. "These legal actions are conducted with a view to replenishing the bank's bankruptcy estate and meeting the claims of its creditors," the DIA notes.

Let us recall that in early 2011, the ICR Main Investigations Directorate initiated a case of MPB’s intentional bankruptcy; the same year, Sergey Pugachev was deprived of his senatorial powers. In 2014, Interpol declared Pugachev internationally wanted at the request of Russia. According to the DIA, Pugachev has been in France since 2015, where he had gone from the UK, "to avoid disclosure of information about its assets." In February 2016, the High Court of England sentenced the banker in absentia to two years in prison for contempt of court and payment of 75% of court costs.

In early March, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation asked France to extradite Pugachev, while the banker himself filed a lawsuit against Russia to the Hague, asking to call in Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Head of Rosneft Igor Sechin as witnesses.

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