Dating power struggle
Dating power struggle
Ms Kotova, who was executive director for Russia on the bank’s board of directors from 2005 to 2010, has been in Moscow since she resigned, or was sacked – pick your version – in January 2011.
The report was finished in November, and a month later the bank referred her case to the City of London Police – a rare instance of the EBRD having recourse to the British criminal justice system.Well before it opened in 1991, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development was making headlines for the lavishness of its building, popularly dubbed Jacques Attali’s castle after the first president whose brainchild it was.Over 20 years, though, the Bank, just north of Liverpool Street station in London, has mostly kept itself to itself, its staff quietly beavering away at providing loans for projects across the European Union and beyond.While it likes to advertise the good it undoubtedly does, there are some subjects it prefers not to talk about.And one of them is the departure of its former top Russian official, Elena Kotova.This was, after all, Russia’s top official at the EBRD who had left under suspicion of corruption.
That would be a huge scandal by any standards yet the actual facts, in so far as they had been reported, seemed to leave many questions without answers.When I met her at a Moscow hotel, she said she was running short of money because she had no access to her UK funds.It also sent her file to the authorities in Russia whose appointee she was. The diplomatic immunity she had enjoyed as a senior employee of the bank was lifted, with the acquiescence of the Russian government.Criminal investigations were launched in both countries; her passport was confiscated and her bank accounts frozen.In January she was charged in Moscow with attempting to solicit a €1m (£840,000) bribe.Her recent committal to the Kashchenko hospital was ordered by a Moscow court. Even by the standards of Russian caprice, the trajectory of Elena Kotova’s fall, from favoured official with a jet-set lifestyle to psychiatric patient, has been precipitous. I had been keen to talk to her because the scanty reports that had reached the media piqued my curiosity.