Monday 21 April 2014

Russia is rich in intrigue

THE Cold War ended more than 20 years ago, but Russia is never short of intrigue.

Elena Baturina isn't immune from it. Based in London, the multi-million euro investment by Russia's richest woman in Dublin's Morrison Hotel is undoubtedly welcome.

But her husband, Yury Luzhkov, a former Moscow mayor, continues to fend off corruption accusations at home. He was ousted as mayor in 2010 on foot of those allegations, but protests his innocence, saying the charges are politically motivated.

Ms Baturina left Moscow for London with her two daughters after he was removed. Her husband said he was concerned for his family's safety.

She was called as a witness in a Bank of Moscow case last year about an allegedly fraudulent €300m-plus loan to one of her companies. She feared she wouldn't be allowed to leave Russia if she returned, however.

Meanwhile, she's been driving a creative think-tank called BeOpen, which aims to promote Russia's artists. Perhaps she might even brighten Dublin's art scene.

See P37

Irish Independent

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