Russia Wants Financial Data from Cyprus On Billionaire Facing Charges

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Russia is going to ask Cyprus to forward details on finances held on the island by billionaire
businessman Ziyavudin Magomedov who is facing charges of embezzling Russian state funds.

The Tass News Agency said an investigator told the Tverskoy Court of Moscow, hearing the case, they need the data for the probe about his operations.

Cyprus is a preferred site for Russia’s wealthy to put their assets in banks as the island is still fighting a reputation as a money-laundering haven and a place to hide criminal cash.

Magomedov is the main owner of the privately-held investment company Summa Group. In March 2018, he was arrested and charged with “racketeering and embezzlement of state funds,” but it wasn’t clear if that was part of government plans to go after billionaires for other reasons, as President Vladimir Putin has done before. Magomedov denies any wrongdoing.

He and partners own a Cyprus-based company by the name of Kadina Limited, a report in the Cyprus Mail said.

Earlier, Russian investigators and prosecutors said Magomedov was suspected of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles ($43.6 million) through companies owned by Summa.

Investigators say they haven’t been able to locate the embezzled money, which they believe was moved to various offshore accounts.

The Summa Group is a conglomerate with interests in port logistics, engineering, construction, telecom, oil and gas. Magomedov’s net worth is estimated at $1.4 billion.