Sergei Pugachev, a Russian banker living in exile in London, has spoken out against the allowance granted to him by the High Court. He says that £10,000 a week isn't enough.
The court has frozen the 52-year-old's assets while his financial affairs are under investigation in Moscow, and lets him take a tiny fraction of his vast wealth each week to live on. He says the move has left him unable to support his family.
Pugachev is worth an estimated £1.3 billion, and was once part of the Moscow elite - earning the nickname of 'Banker to the Kremlin', and working as a close adviser to Putin. The Financial Times reported that he is exiled in London because in Moscow he is under investigation over his financial affairs. In particular the authorities are looking at accusations that he was behind a $2 billion shortfall at Mezhprombank, the bank he co-founded.
The DIA in Russia alleges he put in place a number of schemes to take hundreds of millions of dollars from the bank after it received loans from the Central Bank of Russia in December 2008. He says he has done nothing wrong and that the transfers were his own funds. He claims to be the victim of state expropriation of his business empire.
The cost of legal action, and the fact that his assets have been frozen, have left him in a difficult financial position, and he says he is now unable to continue to employ his lawyers. He told the FT he had just £45,000 left in the bank.
The Daily Mail reported that he also says he is unable to live on his weekly allowance of £10,000, which is where he may start to lose sympathy for his plight. He told Vedomosti newspaper in Moscow. "I can be called a poor man. I do not have money to support my family and my property".
There is every chance that he cannot continue his lavish lifestyle on that kind of income. He has a property in France and two in England to support. It has also been reported that he employs several members of staff - including housekeepers, drivers and nannies, so the expenses tend to build up.
It's just that whatever the rights and wrongs of his troubles in Russia, he's not going to garner enormous sympathy from anyone by arguing that owning three multi-million-pound properties, employing a huge staff to care for his needs, and having £10,000 a month to spend on everyday expenses, somehow qualifies him as a 'poor man'.
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