Discgraced former banker Elena Kotova has been ordered to hand over her Mayfair flat

 
Edith Hancock
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Kotova has handed her flat over to the NCA

A former high profile Russian banker has been ordered by the court to hand over her swish flat in Mayfair to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Elena Kotova, who was an executive director of the European Bank of Reconstruction and development (EBRD), was charged with bribery by Russian authorities in 2013, alleging that she solicited more than $1.4m (£961,736) while serving on the board of the lender.

The disgraced banker was handed a suspended sentence by a Russian court the following year, but now the NCA is ordering her to hand over her bolthole in the West End after alleging that the flat was bought with the solicited funds.

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The EBRD was set up by European governments to help former communist countries make the transition to capitalism. It launched an internal investigation into the operations of current and former EBRD staff in July 2010.

The NCA alleged that between 2005 and 2011, Kotova was engaged in soliciting corrupt payments from her clients in return for assistance in securing funding for their projects and laundering the proceeds of these bribes through an offshore company.

The NCA submitted it was these funds that were subsequently used to fund the purchase of the flat on Upper Grosvenor Street, valued at around £1.5m.

A spokesperson for the NCA said that Kotova agreed to settle the agency's claim last month by handing over her flat, along with £230,000 stored in two bank accounts.

Elena Kotova, who served as Russia’s top representative to the EBRD in London until 2010, was accused of demanding payment from representatives of a Canadian oil company in exchange for helping it get a $95m loan from the bank.

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Stephanie Jeavons, Deputy Director of the NCA’s Economic Crime Command said: "The NCA’s successful investigation against Ms Kotova demonstrates that the UK is not a safe place for anyone to hide the proceeds of their high end financial crime."

"The NCA will use all its powers to remove the proceeds of any criminality – whether you reside in the UK or overseas."

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