George Philippides of Cyprus, who has recently been interrogated in connection with the Bank of Moscow case, says that he was subjected to severe pressure by the investigators and is preparing a legal suit,” the Moscow News writes.
“Philippides is at the head of One World, a Cypriot firm that manages the assets of the InvestLesProm Concern. He has visited Russia to settle a conflict between InvestLesProm and the Bank of Moscow. The businessman was going to meet with the bank’s current president, Mikhail Kuzovlev, in Moscow, but the latter was away from Russia and the meeting could not take place (they only talked on the phone). And on 20 January police officers intruded his suite at the Ritz,” the article says.
“According to Philippides’s lawyer, Christos Klerides, the first thing the policemen did was to confiscate the businessman’s cell phone. The suite was searched, and the policemen confiscated a computer and originals of the documents that the businessman had with him, the lawyer says. According to him, “the search was conducted in a humiliating form” and the businessman was threatened. Then Philippides was taken to the local police station, where he was interrogated during seven hours. According to him, the questions concerned the money that the companies managed by Philippides, InvestLesProm in particular, owed the Bank of Moscow. In the evening the businessman, unused to dealing with Russian law enforcers, was released, and the following morning he flew back to Cyprus. There, he turned for help to the Russian-Cypriot Business Association and to his lawyers. He now intends to bring a suit against the actions of the Russian law enforcers,” the newspaper says.
“It surfaced at the interrogation that he was detained based on information received from the Bank of Moscow, Klerides says. That means that the creditor in a dispute with his debtor has used such ‘terrorist’ tactics to exert pressure on him.” The lawyer said that Philippides’s defence team immediately sent a letter to Kuzovlev. “In his response, Kuzovlev noted that interrogation is nothing but a ‘routine procedure’ and that Philippides simply ‘became hysterical,’” Klerides said.
The Moscow Post provides a different version of what caused the interrogation of the Cypriot businessman. According to their information, the law-enforcement agencies were trying to obtain from George Philippides a testimony against Georgiy Poltavchenko, mayor of St. Petersburg, who may have been the beneficiary of a portion of InvestLesProm shares.