A Russian former bank chief who fled to London in 2011, after being accused of an alleged multi-million pound fraud, said he has been granted political asylum in Britain.
Andrei Borodin, the former president of the Bank of Moscow, welcomed the decision in a statement seen in London, saying the charges brought against him were “politically motivated”.
Borodin, 45, is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice international arrest warrant which states that he is wanted by the Russian authorities over an alleged fraudulent loan.
The charges followed the US$14 billion ( HK$ 108 billion) bailout of the Bank of Moscow in 2011, the biggest in Russian history.
State-owned bank VTB, which mounted a hostile takeover bid for the Bank of Moscow, said it uncovered bad loans totalling US$9 billion - a third of the bank’s assets.
No one could be reached for comment immediately at Britain’s Home Office.
In his statement, which he sent the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti and also posted on his official website, Borodin said he believed the decision to grant him asylum reflected the British authorities’ belief that the charges against him were groundless.
“I welcome the British government’s decision to grant me political asylum,” he said in Friday’s statement.
“I have always maintained that the allegation made against me and the charges brought by the Russian Federation are without foundation and are politically motivated.
“I am reassured that the British government, in granting me refugee status, have recognised that the criminal charges levelled against me by the Russian authorities are baseless and without merit.”
Borodin is best known in Britain for buying Britain’s most expensive house in 2011.
The banker paid 140 million pounds for the 300-year-old Park Place Estate, near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, central England, according to a report in the Sunday Times newspaper.