PARIS (AP) — The International Chamber of Commerce held an arbitration hearing Monday over a Russian magnate’s claims for $12 billion from Russia, part of a long-running battle with President Vladimir Putin’s government.
Russia accuses Sergei Pugachev of embezzlement, while he alleges the Russian state unlawfully took over his shipyards and other assets. Pugachev had a big business empire in the 1990s, including ship-building, banking and energy, and was a longtime Putin ally before they fell into dispute.
Pugachev’s representatives said his lawyers sought at Monday’s hearing to freeze Russian government assets abroad or other punitive measures. His claims for $12 billion are retaliation for what he calls unjustified Russian seizures of his assets.
The Russian state Deposit Insurance Agency says Pugachev ran his bank into the ground in a scam to get money from the government. Authorities have frozen Pugachev’s assets in Britain and Switzerland in that case, and he was sentenced in Britain for contempt of court after fleeing to France.
No decision was made at Monday’s hearing, held in Paris at Pugachev’s request, according to lawyer David Goldberg, representing the Russian government.
Pugachev didn’t comment after the hearing.
Russian prosecutors want Pugachev extradited from France, but that is unlikely because the magnate is now a French citizen, with a home on the French Riviera.
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