UK court refuses to extradite former Trust Bank owner to Russia

UK court refuses to extradite former Trust Bank owner to Russia
Ilya Yurov Photo: Vitaly Belousov / RIA News

Magistrates' Court ruled that Ilya Yurov persecution was politically motivated because of his connections with Khodorkovsky.

Westminster Magistrates' Court refused to extradite Ilya Yurov, the former part owner of Trust Bank, who is on the international wanted list, RBC reported. The court believes that the extradition would violate human rights.

Russia accused Ilya Yurov of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds. According to the investigators, he and several Trust Bank top managers siphoned off the organization’s assets to offshore accounts in Cyprus between 2012 and 2014, after which the money was moved to the accounts of individuals and legal entities controlled by the bank’s management. Reorganization process of Trust Bank started in December 2014, and Yurov left for the UK.

The Westminster court decided that Russia would not be able to provide Yurov with good conditions of detention if he were extradited. The banker's lawyers furnished evidence of how “weak” the law enforcement system in Russia is", as well as claims that the banker might be pursued for political reasons; the Yukos case was brought up.

When commenting on the court's decision, Ilya Yurov told Vedomosti that the court considered the prosecution "politically motivated" because of his connection with Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Yurov used to work at Menatep Bank, which belonged to the businessman.

During Trust Bank reorganization, the Central Bank stated that there were signs that some assets had been siphoned off. According to the regulator, the organization owners used "lending schemes with no real economic activity." This resulted in a “hole” of tens of billions of rubles, according to the Central Bank.

In February 2017, Vedomosti reported that Trust Bank had filed a lawsuit with London’s High Court of Justice to cancel the transfer of funds of the bank former owners, Yurov, Fetisov and Belyaev, to their spouses’ accounts. The lawsuit stated that Yurov’s wife had acquired Oxney Court, three apartments in London and property in Cyprus with the funds she had gotten from the offshore company associated with Trust Bank.

On February 3, 2018, Yurov was present at a London meeting with business ombudsman Boris Titov, when they made a list of entrepreneurs wishing to return to Russia but fearing criminal prosecution. “Titov’s List” was sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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