Prosecutors said Friday that they had asked the British government to extradite former banker Andrei Borodin — a move that could nudge him to seek political asylum.
Borodin fled Russia and sold his interest in Bank of Moscow to state-controlled VTB following the dismissal of Mayor Yury Luzhkov in the fall of 2010. As the sale talks stalled over the price, the Interior Ministry accused him of wrongdoing as the bank's chief.
The Prosecutor General's Office delayed the extradition request until now, although law enforcement officials filed their fraud charges last year, because it only recently determined that Borodin is in London, said the office's spokeswoman Marina Gridneva.
Borodin will put up a legal fight against the extradition, his defense lawyer Dmitry Kharitonov said.
“Extradition would be illegal,” he said, insisting that there's no reason to incriminate Borodin, RIA-Novosti reported.
Borodin's press service stated only that his lawyers were working on a statement addressing the matter Friday afternoon.
A legal battle over his extradition could prompt Borodin to ask Britain for political asylum, a move that he considered as of October, according to a statement at the time by another defense lawyer Vladimir Krasnov.
A lawyer for another fugitive businessman, former owner of the Yevroset mobile phone retailer Yevgeny Chichvarkin, has said political asylum isn't a must for avoiding extradition.
The extradition effort comes on the heels of a statement in which Borodin asks Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to investigate the federal bailout of Bank of Moscow after its purchase by VTB.