Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

c.2013 New York Times News Service

MOSCOW — A court in Moscow on Friday withdrew an arrest warrant for Russian banker Sergei Pugachev, owner of the French luxury food chain Hédiard, a day after the warrant’s issuance had been prominently reported in the Russian business newspaper Kommersant.

The court cited “technical violations” for the reversal, the Interfax news agency reported while also quoting unnamed officials in the security forces, who said an international warrant for the banker — believed to have long ago fled Russia — would remain in effect.

At the height of his wealth in 2007, Pugachev used proceeds from his banking business to buy the Hédiard chain, in anticipation of continued growth in the sales of luxury goods, only to be caught by the global downturn that began the next year and eroded demand for high-end foods like truffles and pâtés. Hédiard declared bankruptcy this year.

Before his fortunes turned, Pugachev oversaw a booming business. His bank, Mezhprombank, obtained a bailout of 40 billion rubles (about $1.2 billion at current exchange rates) from the central bank. But the money, intended to spur domestic lending, vanished in loans made to dozens of what banking officials described as front companies.