Russian banker shot in London ‘wanted in Moldova’

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, March 24, 2012 15:06 EDT
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London's Canary Wharf via AFP
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A Russian banker who was shot in London and is now in a coma is wanted in Moldova over financial crimes, a Russian daily reported on Saturday.

Moldovan prosecutors opened several criminal probes into German Gorbuntsov, who was shot outside his home in east London on Tuesday, after a bank he owned there, Universalbank, was closed down in February, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

“We can write a thousand requests but Britain will never extradite him to us,” it quoted anti-corruption prosecutor Viorel Radetchi as saying.

A man named as German Gorbuntsov is listed as wanted on the website of Moldova’s Centre for Combatting Economic Crimes and Corruption (http://ru.cccec.md/wanted).

But the Kommersant business daily wrote that Gorbuntsov said he himself was a victim of a raider attack that caused him to lose his stake of more than 70 percent in Universalbank.

It also cited his Moldovan lawyer who said the attack was more likely to do with Gorbuntsov’s affairs in Russia.

The banker’s lawyer Vadim Vedenin said Gorbuntsov had told him: “If I return to Russia, they will bury me.”

Kommersant said the banker’s lawyer believed the attack was connected to an assassination attempt on Gorbuntsov’s partner and co-owner of Konvers Group, Alexander Antonov, in 2009.

Vedenin said that in February he gave Moscow criminal investigators a statement by Gorbuntsov alleging that two top executives at a bank where he had a controlling share, Inkredbank, had threatened violence against Antonov over a debt he owed Gorbuntsov.

One of the men Vedenin cited, the deputy president of Inkredbank Pyotr Chuvilin, is the former general director of Spartak hockey club, owned by Gorbuntsov.

He declined to comment to Kommersant on the claims he called “rubbish”.

Earlier this month, the Investigative Committee reopened a probe into the assassination attempt on Antonov as a result of Gorbuntsov’s evidence, Vedenin said.

Gorbuntsov, 45, from Moscow, started out as a businessman in the 1990s and has founded around 40 companies in spheres including security, property, construction and finance, Kommersant wrote.

In 2010, along with his partner Pyotr Chuvilin, he sued two interior ministry employees over extortion. The pair were convicted and jailed.

He left Russia the same year, acccusing two other of his partners of taking over his Russian assets and causing him losses of $2.5 billion, Kommersant wrote.

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