Russia summons Bank of Moscow chief in fraud probe: report

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Russian investigators have issued a summons for the president of the Bank of Moscow, reportedly hiding in London, in their probe of an alleged fraudulent loan, the RIA Novosti agency said Wednesday.

The bank chief, Andrei Borodin, was reported by Russian news agencies Tuesday to have fled in fear of criminal prosecution over a loan of 13 billion rubles (460 million dollars, 320 million euros) to the wife of Moscow's then mayor Yury Luzhkov in 2009.

Luzhkov, sacked last September, created the Bank of Moscow, which became the country's fifth largest bank after gaining Russia's wealthiest city as a client.

Quoting from a document it attributed to the commission of inquiry, RIA Novosti said a summons has also been issued for Borodin's deputy, Dmitry Akunine.

The summonses were given to Russia's Federal Security Service for execution, the agency said, even as the commission denied the existence of any summonses.

"This information does not correspond with the truth," commission spokeswoman Irina Dudukina was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

The agency, approached by AFP, stood by its story, saying it had a copy of the document approving the summonses.

The commission could not be reached for confirmation.

The document quoted by RIA Novosti states that the commission decided on March 28 to charge Borodine and Akunine and that the men failed to respond to a summons.

The agency spoke to Borodine, who said he was in London and claimed to "know nothing" about any summons.

RIA Novosti's sources claimed that Borodine fled to London to avoid prosecution over a 2009 loan the bank gave to a small firm allegedly connected to an inflated purchase of land from the mayor's wife, Yelena Baturina, also reported to be in London.

Russian investigators started looking into the suspect loan in December, but the probe has hitherto not targeted specific individuals in the Bank of Moscow.

Luzhkov and his billionnaire wife have fallen from favour since the mayor's ouster, and state bank VTB has taken over the city's 46.48 percent stake in the Bank of Moscow.

The state bank wants to eventually acquire all of Bank of Moscow, but Borodin said last month that he and other minority shareholders are interested in buying the stake back from VTB.

© 2011 AFP

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