Lobby firm working to obtain visa for Russian oligarch
Last December, a top K Street firm earned $200,000 for an effort to help solve “visa issues” for a Russian oligarch exiled in the United Kingdom (U.K.).
Andrey Borodin, the billionaire former president of the Bank of Moscow, hired BGR Group at the end of November, according to forms filed this week. Details on the work are vague, as the disclosure documents only mention “visa issues.”
Borodin, 50, is among the Kremlin’s most wanted.
He fled to Britain in 2011 after being hit with fraud and corruption charges and was granted asylum in 2013. Borodin has denied the allegations, saying that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who served as the country’s president at the time, is persecuting him.
The BGR Group declined to comment on Wednesday about the work, including what his visa issues are and why Borodin is seeking to come to the United States.
However, the firm is bringing in some big guns to the fight on behalf of Borodin.
BGR partner Haley Barbour, a former Republican governor of Mississippi, and Obama administration State Department official Maya Seiden have been contacting the State Department on Borodin’s behalf, disclosure forms show. The firm was paid $200,000 after it inked the contract on Nov. 30, according to the documents filed on Monday.
A year after exiling himself to the U.K., Borodin purchased the most expensive home in Britain, once owned by Frederick Prince of Wales, which sits on 200 acres of land.
Borodin had a close relationship with disgraced former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who was fired from the post by Medvedev in 2010 after criticizing the Kremlin.
The Russian government claims that Borodin, as part owner of the Bank of Moscow, extended improper loans, including one to Luzhkov’s billionaire wife, the heir to a construction company. Some of those loans allegedly ended up accounts belonging to Luzhkov’s wife, according to the Telegraph. Borodin says the allegations against him are politically motivated and came as retaliation for his friendship with Luzhkov.