From Russia with Hate: What's not to like about billionaire Andrey Borodin's life? - Home News - UK - The Independent

From Russia with Hate: What's not to like about billionaire Andrey Borodin's life?

A £140m Henley mansion, a supermodel wife: you'd have thought he would be the object of envy? But then there's that string of powerful enemies he left behind who are now threatening his fortune – and life

According to local legend, Park Place, a sprawling mansion in Henley-on-Thames whose £140m price tag makes it Britain’s most expensive home, is haunted by Mary Blandy, a well-bred young woman who poisoned her father in 1751 with arsenic in the odd belief it was a  love potion.

Unfortunately for Andrey Borodin, the billionaire one-time Russian banker who is the present owner of Park Place, there are more concrete threats to his well-being than the esoteric wanderings of Miss Blandy and her novel take on amorous liquids.

The 46-year-old, who currently tops the Kremlin’s list of alleged fugitives it wants to drag back to Russia – and, as a result, enjoys Britain’s protection as a recipient of political asylum – is being assailed by threats to his life and his fortune from locations as diverse as Chechnya and Switzerland.

In the latest of a series of blows  –which  Mr Borodin, who occupies Park Place with his supermodel wife, Tatiana and their young daughter, sees as evidence of what happens to those who fall out with Vladimir Putin’s regime – the banker is facing legal proceedings in Switzerland aimed at returning at least part of $368m (£244m) in frozen assets to the bank he once ran.

The Bank of Moscow is understood to be preparing a legal claim to claw back funds from Mr Borodin after it was last month declared an “injured party” by the Swiss courts in a wrangle over funds which the Russians claim were embezzled by Mr Borodin and one of his deputies.

Despite buying his Grade II-listed fastness, complete with 18 cottages and 200 acres of park land, and installing himself in one of Britain’s swankiest neighbourhoods, the banker continues to be pursued, if not by Ms Blandy, then by various spectres from his previous existence in Russia.

The result is that, although he intends at some point to resume his business career, he finds himself having to dedicate his time not to admiring his view of the Thames but fighting on several fronts to resolve legal cases.

Mr Borodin, who is sought by Moscow on fraud and corruption charges, which he strongly denies, and who was granted asylum in February, told The Independent: “Given that my successful application for asylum in the UK included all details of the Russian criminal investigations and argued that they are politically motivated, I now believe that the Russian authorities are via the media trying to lend credibility to their claims by referring to the Swiss investigation.”

He added: “My lawyers are engaging with the Swiss authorities and I am confident that a satisfactory conclusion will be reached in the not too distant future.”

The banker, who is the son of a Soviet rocket engineer and a German translator, might be forgiven for thinking that – one way or another – the Russians are out to get him. It emerged in April that Mr Borodin was the target of a potential assassination plot involving a hitman who claimed to have been approached by Chechen political figures and offered as much as £600,000 to kill him in Britain.

The banker, who is a close ally of the former mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov, arrived in Britain in March 2011 after a warning that, following years of lucrative success negotiating Moscow’s treacherous nexus of business and politics, his star was on the wane.

The details of the assassination plot, brought to the attention of MI5 after the hitman pulled out of the deal, were considered to be credible.

Thames Valley Police approached Mr Borodin with a warning that his life was under direct threat. The Independent understands that the Russian was served with a so-called Osman letter – a formal notice of a potential murder plot, along with advice on how to respond.

The plausibility of the plot, which followed an earlier incident in which a member of Mr Borodin’s staff driving his car was followed at high speed on the M4 by another car with false number plates, is thought to have been a factor in the decision by the Home Office to grant him political asylum.

He said: “I understand that the investigation by the UK authorities is ongoing. The UK authorities regarded the death threat against me as credible.”

Even this is not the end of the banker’s legal troubles. His former wife, Tatyana Repina, has launched a lawsuit claiming $2.2m in relation to child support for their two sons.

Mr Borodin denied any failure to support his children and accused his wife of seeking control of funds set up to provide for the boys. He said: “I can confirm that I have met all my child support obligations put in place after my divorce. In addition, I have set up substantial trusts for my sons’ benefit.”

The businessman has trodden an increasingly well-worn path between the Moscow elite to the refuge of London, and then onwards to the mansions of the Home Counties. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Borodin has described Britain as “comfortable”, with “very nice people”.

Rather like Boris Berezovsky, to whom he has been compared, Mr Borodin has moved from the inner circle of Russia’s ruling elite to the more exposed status of one of its monied detractors with considerable speed –gaining the protection of the British state and attracting the ire of the Kremlin.

Mr Borodin, who, like his ill-fated predecessor, has started to fund human-rights groups in Russia, sees little evidence that Mr Berezovsky – found dead at his Ascot house some 14 miles from Park Place earlier this year – died of anything other than financial and psychological ruin.

As a technocrat rather than an oligarch, Mr Borodin is a different stripe of exile from Mr Berezovsky, having worked for Germany’s Dresdner Bank for three years before returning to Moscow to act as Mr Luzhkov’s economic adviser.

The two Home Counties exiles nonetheless share a similar trajectory of falling from a position of considerable influence. Whereas Mr Berezovsky billed himself as the kingmaker who helped Mr Putin to power, Mr Borodin made his reputation as Mr Luzhkov’s money man, setting up the Bank of Moscow in 1995 in conjunction with  city authorities and eventually steering it to become Russia’s fifth-largest bank.

Mr Borodin, named Russia’s best banker for two years running in 2000 and 2001, and his bank are accused of making improper loans of more than $440m to shell companies from which the money was then transferred to Mr Luzhkov’s wife, Yelena Baturina, the owner of a construction empire.

For his part, the banker claims he was made to sell his stake in the bank for £465m, less than half its value, as part of a political takeover on behalf of the then president, Dmitry Medvedev.

In a recent interview, Mr Borodin said: “In order to take over the Bank of Moscow, which was run by myself and my partners, they started several criminal investigations, which are completely of a political nature and fabricated. I was told that someone at the very top of Russia politics had instructed the court to arrest me. I can definitely imagine it was Mr Medvedev.”

Anti-corruption campaigners, including Alexander Lebedev, who part owns the Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta and is the financial backer of The Independent, have criticised Mr Borodin and the decision by Britain to grant him asylum, which Mr Lebedev has described as “just not right”.

The Kremlin has also made its displeasure clear, claiming that Britain has offered itself as a haven to someone facing charges of a “pure criminal nature”. As Natalya Timakova, Mr Putin’s press secretary, put it when Mr Borodin was granted asylum: “There is now a practice of seeking political asylum – especially in England –whereby it doesn’t matter what the seeker has done. What matters is how loudly he shouts about political persecution.”

It is a clash of individuals, bank accounts and nations which is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. In the meantime, Mr Borodin, who is unable to travel abroad because of an Interpol “red notice”, which he is seeking to have removed, can at least console himself with owning Britain’s most expensive gilded cage.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Programme Test Manager

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush, London

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...

Modern Foreign Languages Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week