12:31, 1 March 2013
18:46, 1 March 2013
Asylum: Banker Andrei Borodin is wanted on criminal charges in Moscow but has been granted asylum by the Home Office
A Russian banking tycoon who owns Britain’s most expensive house has been given asylum in this country – prompting fury in Moscow.
Andrey Borodin, 45, fled his homeland two years ago accusing the Kremlin of politically- motivated persecution.
He bought the £140million grade II listed mansion called Park Place, near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, where he lives with his family.
But his presence in Britain has angered the Russian authorities who want him extradited to stand trial for alleged fraud.
Mr Borodin says the charges were trumped up when he dared to accuse a key ally of President Vladimir Putin of corruption.
Mr Borodin’s lawyer confirmed he had been granted refugee status in the UK, meaning the Government has accepted he could be harmed by the Russian state if sent home.
The decision will further undermine Britain’s strained relations with Moscow, with the office of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issuing an angry response.
The Russian leader’s press secretary Natalya Timakova said the accusations against Mr Borodin, were fully justified.
‘There is now a practice of seeking political asylum, especially in England, whereby it doesn’t matter what the seeker has done,’ she said. ‘What matters is how loudly he shouts about political persecution.’
While the Home Office did not comment, Borodin’s lawyer in Moscow, Dmitry Kharitonov, said: ‘Yes, he got political asylum in Britain. This status is not time-limited.’
Luxury home: Alleged criminal banker Andrei Borodin owns the £140 million grade II listed mansion Park Place Estate, near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, said to be Britain’s most expensive home
In October it was revealed that the fugitive had been the target of a surveillance operation on the M4 close to his home. ‘It might have been someone from the Russian security service, it might have been criminals,’ he said at the time.
Russia has put Borodin on its international wanted list and strongly denies claims that Medvedev or anyone else sought to persecute the banker.
The Russian premier’s press secretary Natalya Timakova said today that the accusations against Borodin – who fled to London in April 2011 – are of ‘pure criminal character’ involving Bank of Moscow, which he formerly owned.
She issued what is expected to be the first blast of many from Moscow on this asylum case.
‘There now a practice of seeking the political asylum – specially in England – whereby it doesn’t matter what the seeker has done,’ she said.
‘What matters is how loudly he shouts about political persecution – and this will become a guarantee that the asylum will be granted.’ She accused Britain of ignoring that Interpol ‘is after him’.
Kremlin row: Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, pictured this week in Moscow, has accused Andrei Borodin of criminal behaviour
Moscow also insisted today that it would continue to demand Borodin’s extradition from Britain.
But he claimed today: ‘Any political asylum seeker must submit the application together with recordings and any other proof showing the political character of the persecution in his native country. My lawyers submitted all necessary proof.’
Borodin claimed that he was ousted from the bank because it was needed as a ‘pension pot’ for Medvedev. He alleged he was forced to sell his stake in the bank for £465 million, which he claimed was half its true value.
He fled Russia after being told he faced a probe into corruption involving loans at the bank, accusations he claims are trumped up.
Borodin in accused of improperly loaning £285 million to shell companies which switched the money to Yelena Baturina, wife of long-time Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who was ousted by Medvedev. She, too, is now based mainly in London and denies wrongdoing.
The banker claimed there was a political decision to take control over the Bank of Moscow, and that it was executed by VTB president Andrei Kostin and Igor Yusufov, a special representative of the then President Medvedev.
‘Yusufov told me straight forwardly that he was acting at the order and in interests of Medvedev, who decided to gain state control over the Bank of Moscow,’ he said.
Yusufov claimed a ‘future financial empire’ was being created for Medvedev, who he nicknamed the ‘young man’, a term supposedly relating to his second-fiddle status to Vladimir Putin.
Yusufov dismissed the claims against him as ‘lies and slander’.
Bank of Moscow was taken over by state-controlled VTB bank in a $14 billion bailout in July 2011, the biggest rescue in Russian financial history. The Russian authorities blame Borodin for its problems.
Borodin was listed as 117th richest person in Russia by Forbes-2012 with an estimated fortune of $800 million.
Kremlin anger as Britain grants political asylum to Russian banker wanted on … – Daily Mail
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