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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
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Onetime Magnate Fights Extradition to Russia

MANHATTAN (CN) - The Russian Minster of Industry and Trade threatened to jail and kill the former head of the nation's top shipbuilding firm as part of a scheme to punish those who refused to cave in to state corruption, a federal lawsuit claims.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan Federal Court on Oct. 27, Igor Borbot, the former director of the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center, claims Russian law enforcement officials "are actively involved in the fabrication of evidence and materials" to force his extradition back to Russia.

Borbot claims evidence filed with Interpol and the Department of Homeland Security are fabrications, created by several high-ranking Russian government officials and police officers under the direction and control of the three defendants, all of whom hold prominent positions in Russian society and politics.

They are Denis Manturov, Russia's minister of industry and trade; Sergey Chemezov, CEO of the Rostec Corporation, which produces and exports high-tech industrial products; and Andrey Shishkin, vice president for energy and localization for Rosneft, a state-owned oil company.

Borbot claims his extradition would result in a false trial by a corrupt court.

According to the lawsuit, both Borbot and his co-plaintiff Aleksey Boytsov, have been threatened that they would be killed in Russian prisons and that "it would look like a suicide."

Borbot says after he refused Manturov's appeals to participate in a shipyard embezzling scheme, Manturov told him he would "regret getting into conflict" and threatened to have him arrested, discredited and imprisoned.

The lawsuit also claims Manturov told Borbot that in prison "accidents can easily happen."

Borbot's complaint refers to Manturov's threats as an "old common practice in the Russian Federation if one had to get rid of an uncooperative manager or executive."

Borbot says he became enmeshed in the scheme after discovering that Manturov and his associates were illegally transferring money from Rosneft into offshore accounts, and then using it to manufacture ships.

Borbot claims Manturov treated the Far East Center for Shipbuilding and Ship Repairing as "his personal budgetary piggy bank. "

Manturov demanded Borbot disregard the corruption and help him use Rosneft resources to gain better access to the Russian budget and further embezzle state funds.

Borbot's attorney Irina Shpigel wrote "In a civilized society, it cannot be tolerated that individuals falsify and create fabricated evidence solely for the purpose of unlawfully detaining another individual in the hopes of forcing his hand of cooperation."

After Borbot refused multiple extortion attempts, Borbot's family members were intimidated and threatened during a series of hours-long interrogations, and the harsh, unrelenting treatment eventually forced them to flee to Australia.

During the interrogations, Borbot's mother was fired from her administrative job.

Borbot left Russia after his family was safely out of the country.

But in May 2016, Borbot was detained in New York for visa issues, and later transferred to a California immigration facility. He claims he has not been released because the judge handling his case "deemed him a danger by virtue of his Russian charges."

Russian prosecutors seek Borbot's extradition to Russia, where is he suspected of embezzling over 4 billion rubles (about $61.5 million) from funds allocated for a shipyard.

Borbot's complaint brings claims against defendants for unlawful detention, RICO, defamation, unlawful conversion, abuse of process and extortion.

Borbot is represented by Irina Shpigel in New York City.

Representatives for defendants did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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