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An organization challenges the granting of French citizenship to a wealthy Russian man close to the Kremlin

An organization challenges the granting of French citizenship to a wealthy Russian man close to the Kremlin

Did a wealthy Russian, Sergei Bukachev, who was close to power, obtain French citizenship “illegally” in 2009? This is what a Brussels-based private organization believes, calling on the state council to rescind the citizenship order, while his lawyer insists these are “unsubstantiated allegations.”

In its November 2021 application, the International Trust for Good Governance emphasized that Bukachev “did not live in France permanently or for five years.”

He bought Idier, a leading French food group.

He added that, except for the exceptions to obtaining French citizenship, “French is not spoken … and is not integrated in any way in French society.”

In response, Sergei Bukachev’s lawyer Jessica Fore confirmed that “all the allegations and rumors in this case are baseless.”

The millionaire has been in a legal battle with Moscow for years. The prosecutor said such action was an attempt by Russian authorities to “harm his honor.”

The state legislature has not yet set a trial date.

In support of its request, the International Trust quoted two interviews with him by two French channels in 2016, in which 59-year-old Sergei Bukachev spoke in English.

He confirms that his children “grew up in Russia and the United Kingdom” and that his estranged wife and husband “lived in Moscow, especially between 1990 and 2011,” during operations in the United Kingdom.

The billionaire’s lawyer responded: “So far, only the Russian Federation has challenged the granting of French citizenship to Fukashenko.” Near the regime “

Former Kremlin banker

In an interview published by Marianne in February 2019, the businessman, who lives near Nice, stressed his connection with France.

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“I feel at home here,” he said. “I moved to the United States with my family a few years later in 1994. My parents are buried here, my sister lives here, my two older children grew up here and my five grandchildren were born here.”

“It aims to protect the rights of entrepreneurs in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe,” the foundation said.

In his application, if Bukachev had obtained French citizenship by “fraud”; It would “tarnish the reputation of other Russian entrepreneurs … who want to do business in France, settle there and get its citizenship”.

He believes that this French passport allowed the billionaire to “leave the UK illegally” because he was sued for the fraudulent bankruptcy of his bank, Megaprombank.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Sergei Bukhachev is under investigation for allegedly amassing wealth in the UK, stealing his bank’s customers in Great Britain, and is now enjoying his fortune in France.”

According to the organization, the home ministry did not send “any security report” to the state council within the specified time, so it could be considered “approval of the facts contained in the application” i.e. “fraudulent nature”. Naturalization Order issued on December 2, 2009.

The French Interior Ministry, in contact with Agence France-Presse, declined to comment.

Bukachev is wanted in Russia for “fraud” and “fraud”. He was a former senator of Siberia. During the reign of Boris Yeltsin he became known as the “Kremlin Banker”. He left the country permanently in 2011.

The Russian Deposit Insurance Company, which is dissolving Megaprombank’s assets, froze its assets from the British judiciary in 2014 and banned them from leaving the country.

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In 2016, the High Court in London sentenced him to two years in prison for concealing some of his assets, and he left the UK in June 2015 without handing over his passport, according to a ruling seen by the AFP.

The former owner of the “Idiar” group (2007 to 2014), his son Alexandre was the head of the newspaper “France Sawyer” (2009-2012), who claims that he was “expelled” from his industrial empire in Russia and forced. Sell ​​to government agencies.

A judicial inquiry has been underway in France since 2014 following allegations of “extortion” and “fraud”.

On the other hand, the Madrid arbitral tribunal, which demanded $ 12 billion from Russia against it, declared the case in June 2020 ineligible. Sergei Bokoshev appealed the decision.

(AFP)