FACTBOX-Five facts about Russian tycoon Pugachev

MOSCOW, July 7 (Reuters) - Russian mid-sized bank International Industrial Bank (IIB) controlled by business magnate Sergei Pugachev has become the first Russian private bank to default on an external bond in the country since the financial crisis of 1998. [ID:nLDE6660AS]

Below are five facts about Pugachev:

* Pugachev, 47, was ranked Russia’s 26th richest man in 2009 with a $1.9 billion fortune according to Moscow’s Finans magazine. His business empire comprises the IIB or Mezhprombank, which defaulted on Tuesday, as well as shipyard Severnaya Verf and Baltyisky Zavod, Moscow-based developer OPK Development and Russian TV channel Moscovya.

* Pugachev had long been seen by market participants as a businessman close to the Kremlin and Premier Vladimir Putin but banking industry insiders have said his latest troubles may signal he has fallen out of favour with the authorities. Sources have said Pugachev was selling stakes in shipyards that make navy vessels as part of his debt restructuring. [ID:nLDE665100]

* Pugachev is rarely seen in public and has given very few interviews. Russian media have nicknamed Pugachev an Orthodox Banker for his strong religious views.

* A graduate of Leningrad State University in St Petersburg, also Putin’s alma mater, Pugachev represents East Siberia’s Tuva Republic as a senator in the upper house of the parliament. Tuva’s trade union wrote a letter this year to the upper house complaining that Pugachev rarely appeared in the region.

* Russian media has reported that Pugachev is an avid francophile, and that he spends most of his time in the country, where one of his sons owns the daily newspaper France-Soir. French and Russian media also reported that Pugachev bought French gourmet chain Hediard for over 1 billion euro. (Compiled by John Bowker and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Mike Nesbit)