Russian banker in fraud case granted London asylum
Luzhkov, who has spent much of his time outside Russia since Medvedev fired him in 2010 amid accusations of vast corruption, said on Kommersant FM radio that the charges against Borodin were a way of attacking him vicariously.
Borodin is accused of transferring $443 million in loans to shell companies that then gave the money to Luzkhov's wife, former construction magnate Elena Baturina. Baturina, Russia's richest woman while Luzhkov was mayor, was notorious for receiving highly favorable contracts from Moscow city authorities and buying and selling city land on extremely advantageous terms.
Borodin is also accused of improperly selling shares in an insurance group to deny Moscow authorities control of the bank and embezzling the money through offshore companies.
Borodin told Vedomosti he was forced out of Bank of Moscow to turn it into a "pension fund" and "future financial empire" for Medvedev. The government, meanwhile, has portrayed Borodin as a shadowy figure attempting to manipulate Russian politics from afar.
Kremlin-friendly TV ran a documentary-style film with grainy hidden camera footage in October alleging that Borodin planned to pay leftist activists $50 million through a Georgian politician to stage massive nationwide riots and terrorist attacks throughout Russia aimed at overthrowing the government. Borodin is one of only two of the alleged participants not to have been charged in that case. Rights groups have decried the case as part of a crackdown on dissent in Russia.
Raphael Satter contributed reporting from London.
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