September 6, 2019 / 12:04 PM / 12 days ago

Russia issues international arrest warrant for car sales tycoon: news agencies

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian investigators have issued an international arrest warrant for Sergei Petrov, owner of the country’s largest car dealership and a former member of parliament, Russian news agencies reported on Friday.

In June, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against Petrov, the founder of the Rolf dealership who has appeared on lists of the country’s wealthiest businessmen.

It accused Petrov, who says he is currently in Austria, of illegally transferring 4 billion roubles ($60.7 million) abroad.

According to investigators, Petrov used a complex scheme involving a Cypriot company and an Austrian bank to illegally spirit the money out of the country.

Petrov, who has been charged in absentia, denies wrongdoing. Russia’s Interfax news agency cited him on Friday as saying he would not return to Russia until the case against him was dropped.

It quoted him as saying he had Austrian citizenship and was confident that Austria would not hand him over to Russia.

In June, he said that investigators’ actions were unfounded and might be an attempt to strip him of his business or be related to his political stance. He has sometimes been outspoken in his criticism of doing business in Russia.

Writing by Anton Kolodyazhnyy; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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