Sergei Pugachev on Interpol's Wanted List
'Putin's Banker' Sergei Pugachev Put on Interpol's Wanted ListInterpol Website Screenshot

Putin's one time close friend and banker, Sergei Pugachev, is on Interpol's "Wanted Persons" list for "misappropriation or embezzlement".

Pugachev, who was once close to the Russian President, is wanted by the government for prosecution on allegations of swindling money from banks for his personal use. The government accuses Pugachev of large scale fraud but he maintains that the allegations are "politically motivated."

"Mr Pugachev faces a formidable challenge if he is to successfully argue that the case is politically motivated. Interpol is an unaccountable organisation that is slow to act and any appeal that he makes will take months, if not years, to reach a conclusion," Richard Elsen, reputation management expert at Byfield Consultancy – a specialist legal PR agency, told The Daily Mail.

The Interpol warrant means great personal and business damage for Pugachev. He will be under constant media and he will be unable to conduct any business dealings.

Pugachev fled Russia soon after claiming some forces were trying to seize his business. He went to live in London and presumably splits time between London and Monaco, according to The Associated Press.

The 51-year-old businessman was once worth $2 billion. He was close to former President Boris Yeltsin and later became an associate of Putin. He would give the president advice on a wide range of portfolios like construction, shipbuilding and banking as well.

Pugachev also became a senator in the Russian cabinet but things started to go downhill from 2010 when his bank defaulted on debts and lost its license.

Pugachev has since been critical of Putin and his ways. In several interviews he has ridiculed Putin's frugal understanding of economics.

"Vladimir Putin does not understand economics. He does not like it. It is dry. It's boring to hear these reports, to read them. He likes clear things: Russia's moving ahead; how great everything is. He does not have a deep understanding of what is happening," Pugachev said in an interview with Time Magazine.

According to The Guardian, Pugachev's bank account was frozen in July this year by a London court after a dispute with a Russian liquidator and since then, he has been flying under the media radar.

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