Andrei Borodin bought thte Park Palace Estate after fleeing Russia (Alamy)

But the banker told The Daily Telegraph that the accusation was
fabricated after he resisted a state takeover of his bank. “The president of
Russia at the time, Dmitry Medvedev, was behind this,” said Mr Borodin. “We
revealed that we believe all the investigations conducted in Russia are
politically motivated as a weapon of the Russian authorities to persecute me
and my colleagues.”

As a result, Mr Borodin said that he was forced to sell his stake in the bank
— which was eventually taken over by the state. “I believe they were scared
the Bank of Moscow might support former mayor Luzhkov, should he decide to
go into Russian politics after his dismissal,” he added.

He said that “some people” also “wanted to make a nice profit” from the

Asked if he thought that Vladimir Putin, now president, had also played a role
in his fate, Mr Borodin replied: “Nothing important in Russia can be done
without the knowledge of the number one in the country. Mr Putin built a
system of autocracy, corruption and unprofessionalism in Russia and now he
is a hostage to this system. And what happened to me is the result of the
functioning of this system, whose father is Putin.”

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev (AFP)

The Home Office said that it would not comment on an individual case, but a
Whitehall source declined to deny that Mr Borodin had been given asylum.

Russia requested his extradition from Britain last year and the decision has
infuriated the Kremlin.

Natalya Timakova, a spokesman for Mr Medvedev, said: “The practice of
receiving political asylum, especially in England, has got to the point that
it doesn’t matter what the applicant did. What’s important is to announce as
loudly as possible that you are being politically persecuted and that will
be a guarantee of receiving political asylum. We can only regret that this
simple ruse worked again in the United Kingdom.”

Britain’s willingness to grant refuge to highly controversial figures has been
a persistent thorn in Anglo-Russian relations. In particular, the Kremlin
was incensed that Boris Berezovsky, a fugitive oligarch, and Akhmed Zakayev,
a Chechen rebel envoy, were both given asylum in London.

Mr Luzhkov, the former mayor, told a Moscow radio station that he was
convinced of Mr Borodin’s innocence. “If Borodin was granted political
asylum in England, then the English did that having enough basis to make
such a decision,” he said.

Alexander Lebedev doesn’t agree with Britain’s move (Reuters)

However, Alexander Lebedev, the billionaire Russian businessman who owns the
Evening Standard and the Independent, said Britain’s move was “just not
right”, adding: “The Home Office needs to explain in some public forum why
it considers a person who was never involved in politics is some kind of
political dissident. We’re talking about the boss of a huge bank where a
vast sum of money went missing.” Any “real dissidents” had “nothing to do
with big money”.

Mr Lebedev, who lost an election against Mr Luzhkov for mayor of Moscow in
2003, added: “The Kremlin has nothing to do with this. I don’t believe that
President Medvedev took away Borodin’s business and persecuted him as some
kind of politician, because he’s not a politician.”

Mr Borodin declined to respond to Mr Lebedev’s comments. “I’m not really
interested in the opinion of this gentleman,” he said.

Banker Andrei Borodin granted asylum in Britain after fleeing Vladimir Putin’s … –
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