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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baturina Takes Offensive With FSB




As election authorities kept Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's political future hanging, his wife, Yelena Baturina, said she was filing a lawsuit accusing the Federal Security Service of bungling an investigation of her plastics business and smearing her name.


The Central Election Committee said Thursday it would wait another week to review charges that Luzhkov's election vehicle, the Fatherland-All Russia movement, had falsified financial statements and listed Russian cars where its candidates owned more expensive foreign models.


If the election committee confirms those allegations, Fatherland-All Russia could be barred from Dec. 19 State Duma elections.


Baturina, who is also a candidate for the State Duma, said the security service, or FSB, had failed to produce a "reasonable explanation" for seizing financial documents at the Vladimir office of her plastics firm, Inteko.


The Vladimir FSB announced in July that Inteko had been funneling $140 million abroad through a chain of banks. The FSB says improprieties at Inteko were revealed during a random check of more than 200 regional businesses.


Four people have been charged with fraud, but law enforcement agencies have said Baturina and Inteko are not under investigation, and Baturina says an independent audit showed no transactions between Inteko and the banks named in the investigation.


At a news conference Thursday, Baturina's lawyer Dmitry Shteinman, repeated previous claims by Luzhkov that the mayor's political opponents in government were abusing control of law enforcement and other state agencies to hinder his political plans.


"There is no smoke without fire," Shteinman said. "These shadow managers are chronically afraid that the next State Duma will be dominated by representatives of Fatherland-All Russia."


The Prosecutor General's Office has ordered an investigation into a report by Sergei Dorenko, an outspoken ORT television journalist who supports Kremlin eminence grise Boris Berezovsky, that a brother of Baturina's, Andrei Baturin, held several accounts in banks abroad.


Baturina denied she was related to Andrei Baturin, citing an interview in which he referred to his family as "Ukrainian nobility."


"My family name comes from an old Russian word, batura, a stubborn person," she said.


Her lawyer threatened Dorenko with a private slander suit.


Luzhkov has also come under political fire in recent weeks for his new policy of reviewing the residence permits of non-native Muscovites - a policy that in execution seems to be slanted against the dark-skinned Caucasians who are the prime suspects in Moscow's recent string of deadly bombings. Luzhkov met with local Chechens on Wednesday in an effort to cool animosity.