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Politics or Revenge? Billionaire Gleb Fetisov is Arrested

Published: March 3, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • Gleb Fetisov is suspected of fraud.
    Photo: Vedomosti

A Moscow court has arrested billionaire political leader Gleb Fetisov, weeks after he ramped up his political ambitions by partnering up with prominent opposition figures and launching a new political party.

A fellow leader of the party suggested that the arrest was retaliation by influential private depositors who lost millions of dollars when a bank formerly owned by Fetisov was shut down by the regulator in January.

Related: Billionaire Gleb Fetisov’s Vision in Green

Worth $1.9 billion, Fetisov is one of the richest people to have ever found themselves behind bars in Russia's post-Soviet history, after former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky and media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky. He is now the only billionaire at the helm of a Russian political party, following Mikhail Prokhorov's recent handover of leadership of the Civil Platform to his sister.

The Basmanny Court on Friday ruled to arrest Fetisov for a period ending April 20, hours after Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin announced the billionaire's detention. Fetisov is suspected of fraud at Moi Bank, which he sold in December, Markin said.

A Fetisov aide denied any wrongdoing by the businessman and attributed his prosecution to the recent advances in Fetisov's political career, including his banding together with a prominent Kremlin critic to launch a new party.

Related: Gudkovs Aim to Consolidate Opposition Parties

"All that was done to him suggests reprisal or revenge for his political activity," the party said in a statement following Fetisov's detention at a Moscow airport, as he returned from a foreign location where he underwent medical treatment.

In January, Fetisov stepped up his independent political profile by joining forces with a vocal detractor of the government, Gennady Gudkov, and merging their parties to create the People's Political Party Green and Social Democratic Alliance. They co-chair the new political force.

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