UK court serves $2.0 bln asset freeze order on Russian tycoon Pugachev

LONDON, July 16 Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:48pm EDT

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LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - Sergei Pugachev, a Russian tycoon once dubbed "the cashier to the Kremlin", has been served with a UK Court order freezing $2.0 billion of his assets in a case linked to the insolvency of Russian bank Mezhprombank.

The order applies world wide and Pugachev has until Friday afternoon to disclose his assets, according to law firm Hogan Lovells, which is representing the Russian Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA).

A London High Court judge on Wednesday confirmed the order had been served, the law firm said.

The DIA, which was appointed as liquidator to Mezhprombank at the end of 2010, said it believes Pugachev - once seen as close to Russian President Vladimir Putin - owned or controlled the bank and should therefore be held liable for its insolvency.

The DIA, which plans to pursue Pugachev in London as well as Russia, alleges that he extracted money from the bank for his benefit when it was already insolvent, transferring millions of dollars into a private bank account in Switzerland.

It was not immediately possible to reach Pugachev in London or to contact his Russian lawyer or spokesman.

The DIA said Pugachev fled Russia in early 2011 after the bank collapsed and criminal investigations began into its collapse.

"These matters will form the subject of proceedings that the DIA is commencing in England, where Mr Pugachev is now resident," it said in an emailed statement. (Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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