Russian billionaire evades extradition to UK with legal loophole

Why is Putin's banker hiding out in a French chateau? Russian billionaire uses legal loophole to evade extradition to UK where he faces jail Russian oligarch facing jail remains in chateau as authorities fail to haul him back Sergei Pugachev was sentenced to two years in his absence by a judge in 2016  Once known as ‘the Kremlin’s banker’ he was previously close to Vladimir Putin But he remains in France amid apparent confusion over European Arrest Warrant

By Tom Kelly Investigations Editor For The Daily Mail

Published: 22:00 BST, 31 July 2020 | Updated: 11:40 BST, 1 August 2020

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Sergei Pugachev was sentenced to two years in his absence by a High Court judge in 2016 for breaching court orders relating to hundreds of millions in allegedly stolen cash. He is pictured above with Countess Alexandra Tolstoy

Sergei Pugachev was sentenced to two years in his absence by a High Court judge in 2016 for breaching court orders relating to hundreds of millions in allegedly stolen cash. He is pictured above with Countess Alexandra Tolstoy

A fugitive Russian oligarch once nicknamed ‘Putin’s banker’ is using a legal loophole to evade extradition to the UK where he faces jail.

Sergei Pugachev was sentenced to two years in his absence by a High Court judge in 2016 for breaching court orders relating to hundreds of millions in allegedly stolen cash.

But the billionaire remains in his chateau in France because the British authorities have failed to haul him back amid apparent confusion over using the European Arrest Warrant.

Details have just emerged a week after his estranged partner Countess Alexandra Tolstoy was evicted with their three children from the £9million family home in Chelsea where he lived before fleeing in 2015.

The couple appeared in a recent BBC documentary, The Countess and the Russian Billionaire, largely shot at his opulent chateau near Nice.

Pugachev, 57, built up a Russian business empire worth a reputed £11.5billion, including the world’s largest mine, two shipyards and valuable properties in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Also once known as ‘the Kremlin’s banker’, he was previously close to Vladimir Putin but fell into disfavour and was labelled a ‘traitor’ by the Russian president.

After arriving in the UK in 2011, he was accused of siphoning a fortune out of his finance house Mezhprombank. State creditors in Moscow pursued him in the British courts, claiming he embezzled hundreds of millions.

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