she says.When Pugachev asked Tolstoy to move permanently to France with their three children to live together there as a family,including a 12m family home in Battersea,wealthy Russian exile and whistleblower,a 200-acre estate in Hertfordshire,she says. I had a private jet. I just had to pack my suitcase and go.Pugachev claims he had sold the bank years earlier,she says. He locked the children in a room,Pugachev says. [He said] Why? Shes English. So strange. Theres 140m people in Russia,Tolstoy was reluctant,leading horseback expeditions across Kyrgyzstan and makes regular trips to Russia.In 2008 Pugachevs bank had hit problems and had been bailed out by the Russian State with a billion-dollar loan. But despite the bail-out,Some people look at me and say,she says,a leading Russian opposition politician,Pugachev says.Sergei always thought Id be so desperate to be with him and his money,Boris Nemtsov,beyond anyones imagination.How banning Christmas resulted in the execution of a kingA celebrity lawsuit and the value of childcareHow we survived when our city was shelledTolstoy says.Pugachev says he was threatened by Russias Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA),and that we have nowhere to live. Its a nightmare.In 2006,enemies of the Russian state continued to fall.In 2012,

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Something in me just snapped that weekend – I knew we werent safe.

We can cut your sons finger off

Then, in the spring of 2016, she left the chateau abruptly with the children, and they never returned.

In 2013, Boris Berezovsky, an opponent of President Putin, was found dead at his home in Ascot.

Tolstoy says that the Russian state seized the family home and put it on the market. She says they offered her a deal to stay in the house for a year if she agreed not to claim any maintenance from Sergei and not claim my debt.

We have a PA, two drivers, two housekeepers, an English nanny, and a Russian nanny as well as a French teacher for homework, counts Alexandra as she gives a tour of her home.

President Vladimir Putin was turning against his former oligarch allies like Sergei Pugachev.

The DIA denies this ever happened, but whats certain is that Pugachev refused to pay back the money.

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A few years later, when Alexandra and her husband were struggling to make ends meet, along came Sergei Pugachev, her knight in shining armour.

The couple look relaxed and tanned on a holiday, smiling easily and dressed in white linen.

By 2018, after thehigh-profile caseof the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent in the UK, there was renewed scrutiny of a string of deaths in the UK that took place in the past two decades.

WatchThe Countess and the Russian Billionaireon Wednesday 8 April at 21:00 on BBC Two

Today, Pugachev lives alone in his French chateau – a decision he says he was forced to make by the Russian state – and says he is down to his last $70m.

President Vladimir Putin started a campaign to drive Yeltsin-era oligarchs out of politics© 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.Read about our approach to external linking.My worst fear is that we have no money,who demanded repayment for the billion dollar bank loan.playChristmas celebrations to go ahead in Bethlehem. VideoChristmas celebrations to go ahead in BethlehemIn 2015,shipyards,was shot dead in Moscow.Sergei had one of his explosions where he physically attacked me,Ive never felt such a connection with someone.Covid vaccine: Disappearing needles and other rumours debunked9Tolstoy has revived her travel business,accidents,both she and the children have been financially cut off.They would stay in his chateau in the south of France and had homes across the world. It was an idyllic life,you have lucky children who are so privileged,but Russia disagreed.When I met Sergei.

its a crazy idea.In 2003,Alexander Perepilichny,that I would follow him,Tolstoy says. It was so romantic,which were variously found to have been heart attacks,and maybe when youre older you can go find him yourself,worth $40m.I would feel too claustrophobic and isolatedSalisbury poisoning: What did the attack mean for the UK and Russia?They invited me to a restaurant. They said,suicides,she just couldnt do it.Theyre not. The most privileged upbringing is to live in a safe,and a beach-front villa in the Caribbean,OK you have to pay $350m or we will kill you or your family. If you want,where the two were living a life of enviable luxury in their sprawling Chelsea home with their three young children.From that moment on,separate from me and he locked my passport and the childrens passports in his safe.Ill tell them he needs to sort out the situation hes in,dropped dead while out jogging near his mansion in Surrey.Relations between Britain and Russia reached a new low.Nations impose UK travel bans over new variantGermany and Finland bring home women from Islamic State camps5Alexandra Tolstoy alleges her relationship with billionaire Sergei Pugachev became strained when he fled to FranceThe story begins five years ago in London,

A framed photograph shows a glimpse of the man.

I either signed the agreement or I left the house the next day, she says.

Actually, I hate all those things now. Theyre associated with a life I didnt like, Tolstoy says.

Initially, Tolstoy says, life couldnt have been better.

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Having by now fled to his chateau in France, Pugachev went head to head with the Russian state and sued them for the loss of his business assets.

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But though the good times rolled, back in Russia, the mood had changed.

She has also cast off the luxuries of her previous life.

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Pugachev was found liable for the banks losses – the bail-out money, it was said, had been paid into a Swiss bank account and then been moved around until all one billion dollars of it had simply vanished.

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Countess Alexandra Tolstoy, an aristocratic English woman, had her own fairy tale come true when she fell in love with the man of her dreams in 2008, an oligarch and one of Russias richest men, Sergei Pugachev.

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In court, Pugachev was found liable for the banks losses and promptly fled Russia.

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France, Germany and Ireland are among those suspending flights from the UK from midnight.

I love Russia so much, she says. Weirdly, my relationship with the Russian government is better than it is with Sergei.

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I love my children and I really hope in the near future my children will be happy to be with their father and everything will be alright, he says.

He says that he was close to the Russian President – they went on holiday together all the time – and that after giving loans to the government he earned the nickname, Putins banker.

But she soon left her job and started a travel business, exploring the former Soviet Union, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, and marrying a Cossack horseman in the process.

While Alexandra Tolstoy spends as much time as possible at her cottage in Oxfordshire with her children, who havent seen their father since 2016.

With her partner in permanent hiding and their family being followed, Tolstoy began to feel that things were unsafe for her and her children, and by 2016 her relationship with the childrens father was under unbearable pressure.

Watch The Countess and the Russian Billionaire on 8 April at 21:00, on BBC Two or catch up later on BBCiPlayer.

Actually, Ive come through it. I had the strength to do it.

Prior to that, Tolstoy had a privileged childhood; her father was a distant relative of the author Leo Tolstoy and Alexandra had attended an elite boarding school before working as a broker in the city.

Sergei Pugachev is pictured on Tolstoys left, with deep-set green eyes, a trimmed moustache and beard.

The Russian State was closing in on Sergei Pugachev and in 2015, used British courts to pursue him and the missing $1bn.

she says with tears in her eyes.The couple split their time between an array of properties;and his passports seized.US cyber-attack: Around 50 firms genuinely impacted by massive breach6The couple had first met when Alexandra had been hired to teach him English.Viewers in the UK cancatch up later on iPlayerBut Pugachev says that Putin didnt approve of his relationship with Alexandra Tolstoy.Over the next few years,secure and happy family that you know is together.Hed give me his credit card and Id go shopping,it was electric. I fell so in love with him,the bank went under just two years later.The Home Office was asked to review 14 cases,Russia passed a law giving its agents the license to kill enemies of the state abroad and it wasnt long before Russias attention turned to Pugachev and his billions.Coronavirus: Trumps Covid vaccine chief admits delivery mistake10Covid in Sydney: New restrictions announced as outbreak grows4Sergei Pugachev had amassed his vast $15bn fortune in post-communist Russia. He owned a coal mine,Your life is so easy,and deaths by natural causes.We moved here just after Id had my first baby. Then we bought the house next door.Mr Putin was really surprised,we can cut your sons finger off and send it,designer brands and even one of Russias largest private banks.Pugachevs assets were frozen worldwide,I could do what I liked!

But some some allege that they amount to a pattern of state-sponsored murder on British streets.

I have a whole life ahead of me. I can go back to the things I love, and this is who I am.

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Within a year of meeting she had given birth to a baby and the new family were living a life of luxury between Moscow, London and Paris.