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Former EBRD Representative Investigated for Graft

Russian investigators said Thursday that they had opened a criminal case against a former director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or EBRD, on suspicion of bribery.

British police are investigating corruption allegations against at least four officials assigned by Russia to the EBRD, including Moscow's representative to the bank's board, Yelena Kotova, who was dismissed in December.

"The decision has been taken to open a criminal case against Kotova," Russian Interior Ministry investigator Alexander Matveyev told reporters.

Matveyev, deputy director of the ministry's investigative department, said Kotova was in Moscow and had not been detained. He said other officials were also being investigated.

The EBRD said Wednesday that it had agreed to a request from Britain to lift the immunity of a fifth member of the Russian delegation assigned to the EBRD.

That person is not an EBRD employee but was working at the EBRD as a junior representative of the Russian government, the bank said in a statement.

Kotova could not be immediately contacted for comment.

The London-based bank, set up in 1991 to help former communist countries in Eastern Europe adjust to free markets, said it lifted immunity for the five Russians to allow investigations by British police and Russian authorities.

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