Former Russian oil boss sues Geneva bank for 'kickback scheme'

The case alleges a senior bank executive conspired with Eastern Europeans based in New York to defraud the former oil tycoon of millions in investment funds. © Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Sergei Bogdanchikov, the former boss of state-owned oil company Rosneft, has filed a lawsuit in New York alleging a senior executive at Edmond de Rothschild conspired in an embezzlement scheme that cost him over $80 million (CHF73 million).

This content was published on October 18, 2020 - 13:32

According to a court filing made this week at New York state court that was seen by the Le Temps newspaper and reported in the Financial Times, Bogdanchikov alleges he entrusted some $150 million to a Luxembourg subsidiary of the Swiss private bank in 2001. Fifteen years later, he discovered more than half of that fortune had evaporated.

The case alleges a senior bank executive conspired with Eastern Europeans based in Brooklyn to defraud Bogdanchikov, all with the help of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm forced to shut down in 2018 after the Panama Papers revealed it was involved in international money laundering.

The former oil tycoon claims Edmond de Rothschild funneled his funds to New York-based firms that lost money on bad investments and charged excess fees that were then kicked back to the senior executive and the bank. Falsified statements showed the value of his funds was growing when this was not the case, the case alleges.

Bogdanchikov, who was director-general of Rosneft from 1998 to 2010, reportedly filed a legal complaint in Luxembourg and Switzerland, to no avail. He is said to be claiming more than $100 million in damages in the New York case.

Edmond de Rothschild, a family-owned bank set up 250 years ago, declined to comment to Le Temps and the Financial Times.

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