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Russian bank wins fraud damages
A Russian bank has won scores of millions of pounds in damages after claiming that a group of former employees had been embroiled in international financial frauds involving more than £100 million.
Otkritie had sued 19 people at a trial in the High Court in London which took nearly six months to complete.
And a judge today made damages awards against a string of people after describing the case as "extraordinary".
Mr Justice Eder said Otkritie has sought damages after alleging "various acts of fraud" and "money-laundering".
"The relevant events cover a wide geographical spread including London, Moscow, Geneva, Spain and Latvia," he added.
"The allegations (and counter allegations) are wide-ranging and include alleged dishonesty, deceit, conspiracy, fraud, misrepresentation, bribery, forgery, blackmail, money-laundering, false impersonation, intimidation, entrapment, subterfuge, kidnap and even murder.
"Anyone sitting in court listening to the evidence and the parties' respective submissions might have been forgiven for supposing that they were in the Old Bailey."
He said criminal investigations had been generated in various countries, including England, Russia and Switzerland.
Otkritie claimed that it had been the victim of fraud through a "complex trade" involving Argentinian securities and employee sign-on payments.
And officials said the damages awards totalled more than £90 million.
The bank said the alarm had been raised in 2011 and bosses had taken legal action to recover "stolen funds".
A spokesman said officials had already recovered more than £30 million.
He said the bank had been "vindicated" by today's ruling, which would would allow officials to recover "many millions more" traced to countries including: the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Luxembourg and Gibraltar.
Mr Justice Eder said the first of the 19 defendants, Georgy - or George - Urumov, had been "by all accounts a star trader".
Otkritie said Mr Urumov was 34, had dual Russian and British nationality and had worked in London.