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Home Bankers Ex-SocGen Bankers Challenge Fines Over Putin Foe Sergei Pugachyov's Accounts

Ex-SocGen Bankers Challenge Fines Over Putin Foe Sergei Pugachyov’s Accounts

Two former Societe Generale SA bankers are challenging Swiss fines issued for failing to report suspicious deposits worth more than $700 million made by a one-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The former head of SocGen’s Swiss private bank and the ex-head of compliance, who can only be named as L. and K. under Swiss reporting restrictions, are appealing fines totaling 90,000 swiss francs ($96,000) at a trial starting Wednesday in Bellinzona.

Sergei Pugachyov, a former Russian senator, was once a close confidant of Putin and amassed a fortune of more than $1 billion in the 2000s. Russian prosecutors, however, claim his fortune is based on theft and have been seeking his extradition from France, so he can face charges that he embezzled at least $1.5 billion from his Moscow-based International Industrial Bank before it collapsed.

Between 2007 and 2010, SocGen opened 30 accounts in the name of 22 companies on behalf of Pugachyov and his family, according to Swiss prosecutors. In the first few months of 2009, $713 million was deposited by Pugachyov’s companies, ostensibly intended for Russian construction projects, according to the indictment.

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Lawyers for the pair declined to comment ahead of the hearing. A spokesman for SocGen declined to comment.

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