European regulators have allowed banks from “Panama”list


Just “the Panama document” and contains more than 500 banks, their subsidiaries and affiliates. After the publication of the investigation by the International consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ) and the Center for the study of corruption and organized crime (OCCRP), the local regulators can draw the Swiss subsidiary of Gazprombank — Russische Kommerzial Bank (RKB) and RCB Bank, 46% owned by VTB and 19,85% — FC “Opening”.

The official representative of the Swiss financial market regulator FINMA Vincent Mathis in response to a query said that the publication in the media about the so-called Panamanian documents will be taken into account. “As part of its Supervisory activities, FINMA will specify the extent to which banks participated in the schemes, and observed whether Swiss laws”, — said in response to the FINMA. While FINMA declined to comment on the activities of individual organizations and individual names

The Austrian regulator FMA financial sector on 4 April officially announced that check offshore deals Raiffeisen Bank International and Hypo Vorarlberg (Vlbg Hypo) after publications in the media. “In the framework of the “controls” FMA will test whether the presence of systems and procedures necessary to prevent money laundering,” said Bloomberg spokesman FMA Klaus Grubelnik. According to the publication ORF, Hypo Vorarlberg have about 20 accounts of offshore companies.

Prove that not PEP

In an investigation published on 4 April in “Novaya Gazeta”, said Sergei Roldugin International Media Overseas (IMO) from Panama opened an account in the Swiss branch of “Gazprombank” — Russische Kommerzial Bank (RKB). Roldugina, as the beneficiary, it was necessary to define whether it is a “politically exposed person” (PEP) or sign with another PEP. “In both cases, the Russian cellist replied “no”, although at the time about his friendship with Vladimir Putin has been known from open sources. According to a former member of the Group of financial action against money laundering (FATF) Mark Pete, “Gazprombank” according to Swiss law, was required to check the approval Roldugin”, “NG”. But according to Pete, referenced in the publication, there is no indication that this was done.

Until January 1, the definition of a PEP (politically exposed person) contained in the wording of the FATF and the UN Convention against corruption, says a partner at Tertychny Law Ivan tertychnyy. And from 1 January the definition of a politically important person appeared in the Swiss Federal law. Such citizens are persons who take outside Switzerland government positions, senior administrative, judicial, military posts, belong to the top management of state-owned enterprises of national importance, as well as leading political figures. Close to these politically important figures (PEP) are individuals (physical persons), having with them family, personal or business relationships.

As stated in the document of the Swiss business relations with politically exposed figures are not prohibited, but the law requires that banks treat such customers with more caution.

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The official representative of the Association of Swiss banks to a query replied that he could not comment on individual cases. “Swiss banks adhere to all international standards and accepted global standards on automatic exchange of information. Switzerland has a very strict legal framework against money laundering and against the identification of the owner and the actual owner of the Bank account,” added the Association.

Even if we assume that someone is Sergey Roldugin have provided all the documents and signed all the forms, meeting with beneficiary, its identification by a Bank employee compulsory, says the head of International projects Department of the legal company Urvista Natalia Pobezhimova. “If the account is opened without contact with the beneficiary, his meeting with Bank staff is still required and should take place during the year. But the Bank could have failed to know about “personal” relations of the client, especially because obviously nothing was specified”, — said the lawyer.

Most likely, FINMA will check to see how strictly the daughter of Gazprombank complied with the requirements of Swiss law to identify politically exposed persons, says tertychnyy. “Now the Bank will likely have to report to the regulator all information about the client they had. Next will be considered such vague from a legal point of view concepts, as was whether the Bank is “fairly cautious” and he took “sufficient precautions”. But this is a fairly subjective criteria,” says the lawyer.

Checking his client, the Bank may request additional documents to look for information is in the public domain or make use of specialized data information. Check friendly relations Sergey Rogogin quite difficult, says tertychnyy.

Tertychnyy cites the example of the situation with the Swiss banks in 2011-2012, when the Swiss regulator was conducting an investigation regarding neidentificate as politically exposed persons of Tunisian, Libyan and Egyptian clients that are associated, respectively, with Ben Ali, Gaddafi and Mubarak. “Banks then explained the service to these clients and failing to include them in the category of PEP, in particular, the fact that in their documents was incorrect transliteration from Arabic, and the information base was not given any incriminating information. According to the results of the investigation, the regulator FINMA has published a report which stated that four banks were subject to administrative measures, he did not specify. In turn, the Federal Council of Switzerland has frozen about 830 million francs in the accounts of the citizens of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia,” recalls tertychnyy.

The risk of sanctions

As writes “the New newspaper” one of the most important sources of Finance the offshore group Sergei Roldugin were loans from Cypriot Bank RCB Bank, controlled by state Bank VTB. “The documents indicate that in 2010-2012 for Sandalwood Continental (offshore company) opened a credit line of at least $650 million, the Representative RCB ICIJ said that the Bank in its activities follows the requirements of the law, therefore, “the assumption that RCB is the so — called wallet for senior Russian officials, has no basis and does not match the current situation”, — writes the edition. Moreover, the Bank assured reporters NG that voluntarily referred the request from ICIJ in the body, involved in combating money laundering in Cyprus, to conduct an independent investigation.

Now 46,29% RCB belongs to VTB, 19,85% — FC “OTKRITIE”, the rest of 33,85% are owned by a Cyprus company Crendaro Investments Limited, whose shareholders, according to the Cyprus Registrar of companies, on a parity basis are the CEO, RCB Kiril Samarin and RBC Trustees, is 100% owned by the Bank itself.

The Bank “Opening” has acquired its stake in RCB in November 2014. Partner Paragon Advice Group Alexander Zakharov notes that the additional issue then solved the main problem: the risk of sanctions, under which RBC would get if I owned VTB more than 50%. According to him, if the authorities interested in the findings of the investigation, the RCB appears to the potential risks associated with the possibility of review by the OFAC Department of Treasury, which monitors the implementation of sanctions, the Central Bank of Cyprus, the local unit for combating money laundering “MOKAS” or local Prosecutor’s office.

Tertychnyy said that if the Cyprus regulator will investigate, the degree of culpability will be assessed according to fairly vague criteria. “Now the regulators of the two countries — Switzerland and Cyprus — must understand the banks everything they could to check on customers, or there has been intent or negligence,” says tertychnyy.

In a press-service VTB said that from 2010 to 2012 RCB was a part of VTB group, however currently it is not part of it. “However, we want to stress that the VTB group all loans issued with collateral in strict compliance with the risk policy, the requirements of regulatory authorities and legislation. As far as we know, RCB Bank Ltd also has not issued and does not issue unsecured loans, its activity is regulated by the European Central Bank and complies with all the requirements of the ECB,” — said the press service.

In Bank believe that “information contained in the ICIJ investigation concerning RCB Bank Ltd granted unsecured loans is not true, and people making such conclusions do not have information about financial transactions and simply lying to the readers wishful thinking”.

The press service of Rosfinmonitoringa said “no comment.” The Central Bank, the Central Bank of Cyprus, Gazprombank did not reply to requests .