In late February, Russia made the first ever verdict in the so-called off-balance sheet deposits, found . After more than a year of litigation, the Soviet district court of Vladikavkaz has sentenced the leaders of the bankrupt Vladikavkaz dig-Bank. As reported by the Prosecutor of the Republic, the five top managers of the Bank were found guilty of committing crimes under part 4 of article 160 of the criminal code (misappropriation and embezzlement committed by a group of persons upon a preliminary collusion with the use of official position in especially large size) and part 1 St. 201 criminal code (abuse of authority). All the defendants received suspended sentences of imprisonment and fines. The Chairman of the Board of Directors Sergey Tsallagov sentenced to a fine of 500 thousand rubles., Chairman of the Board Rezo Gujaraidze to a fine in the amount of 400 thousand rubles., and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors Berta Shanaeva, Deputy Chairman of the Board Khetag Khetagurov and chief accountant Albina Darchieva will have to pay 300 thousand rubles.
License dig-Bank was revoked in the summer of 2014. During the proceedings there was one of the first cases of large-scale fraud operations on deposits, which was the reason for the refusal to pay almost 2 thousand depositors (and the damage, according to the Prosecutor, amounted to 800 million rubles). Falsification took place in different configurations: manual dig-Bank has not only brought the balance of real deposits, and enlisted in the balance of non-existent deposits after the revocation of the license to them of “compensation.” Subsequently, top management gave a confession on the part of the “off balance sheet” fraud, but hid the fictitious origin of these deposits. Thus, in addition to “off-balance sheet deposits” in the Bank were still “drawn”. Selective authentication of documents through handwriting analysis conducted by the Agency for Deposit insurance (DIA), established the fact of forgery of signatures on the part of both depositors and Bank employees. Data on losses for different types of fraud, the DIA did not disclose.
Increasingly, after the revocation of the license of the commercial Bank, some investors faced with an absurd situation: the deposits that they placed in the financial institution, are not reflected on the balance sheet of the Bank (consequently, the investor cannot rely on payments from the Deposit insurance Fund). It turns out that the management of the Bank just used the money for their own purposes.
The problem of “off balance sheet contributions” were identified in 2014 in the process of cleaning up the banking sector. Then, during the renovation of Mosoblbank came to light that the statements were not reflected deposits in the amount of 76 billion rubles From accounts of clients of the funds were written off without the knowledge and consent of the owners. These facts of double-entry bookkeeping was later revealed in banks “Catherine”, Miko-Bank, Grossinvestment, Stella-Bank, Mistranslate, Arksbank. According to the DIA for the first nine months of 2016 (more recent estimates yet), employees of these banks in such schemes, the funds were stolen 57 thousand depositors for a total amount of 51 billion rubles.
Photo: Andrei Makhonin / TASS
Two sources close to DIA, said that made the case for dig-Bank guilty verdict was the first in history in “off-balance sheet deposits.” Lawyers interviewed agree with these assessments. “This is the first time, earlier convictions for such fraud has not been discussed”, — said the partner of the Collegium of advocates “Yukov and partners” Svetlana Tarnopolsky. She added that now deals with two banks for “off-balance sheet deposits.” “Criminal cases this sort of routine quite a lot, but in my experience never reached a verdict,” — said the head of practice of financial investigations and anti-corruption “FBK Right” Alexander Sotov.
Bankers on condition of anonymity admitted that the regulator has intensified in cooperation with law enforcement authorities in the investigation of circuits with “off balance sheet contributions”. In their view, a precedent will give impetus to new judgments for such crimes. The experts recognize that the legal qualification of the present judicial proceedings does not correspond to the severity of the offence. In this regard, according to lawyers polled , the verdict in dig-Bank should not be regarded as a signal of impunity for such acts. “In this case would be a reasonable application of part 2 of article 165 of the criminal code (infliction of property damage by deception or abuse of trust committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy and caused particularly large damage)”, — said Alexander Sotov. Chairman of the Moscow bar Association “International partnership” Tatyana Protsenko also believes that “the amount of the theft is large enough, so it is unclear why the court decided on conditional punishment.”
The regulator, meanwhile, in February, stated that one of the ways to solve the problem of “off balance sheet contributions” could be a strengthening of responsibility for such crimes. At the traditional meeting with bankers in boarding house “Bor”, organized by the Association “Russia”, the head of the legal Department of the Central Bank Alexey Guznov has proposed to consider the introduction of criminal liability for the establishment of schemes “off-balance sheet deposits.”
Prosecutor calls verdict in dig-Bank was too lenient. She is preparing the appeal submission of its change and increase penalties.
The press service of the Central Bank and ASV had not responded to the request .