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Russian businessman Swiss refuse legal assistance in Borodin case

Borodin has lived in Britain since 2011 and was granted political asylum there

(Keystone)

The Swiss justice authorities have unblocked more than CH300 million ($308 million) in frozen assets belonging to Russian businessman Andrey Borodin, who is accused by Moscow of fraud and embezzlement.

“The money in about two dozen accounts had to be released in the course of late spring,” André Marty, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General, said in a report by Swiss public radio, SRF, on Wednesday.

The Federal Office of Justice said Switzerland had refused to grant legal assistance to Russia in May because it believed there was no guarantee of a fair legal procedure in this case.

Observers say the step is unusual for relations between the Russian and Swiss justice authorities.

However, the federal prosecutor’s office pointed out that cooperation with Russia worked well in general and that the concerns over the legal procedure, including violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, applied only to the Borodin case.

Living in exile

Borodin, a former president of the private Bank of Moscow, was fired in 2011 following charges of abuse of authority in a criminal case.

He was ousted as chief executive at the height of a hostile takeover bid by state-owned VTB bank. Borodin has rebutted the fraud charges.

Since then he has been living in Britain. He was granted political asylum in 2013 after an application by his lawyers on the grounds that he faced political persecution in Russia.

The money in Swiss banks was blocked following a request by Russia six years ago.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug


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