Event of the month:
Russia formally became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization on 21.08.
The transitional period for liberalizing market access is generally 2-3 years, or 5-7 years for sensitive goods.
Appointments of the month:
– Leonid Osipov – deputy MED head
– Sergei Belyakov – Deputy Minister for Economic Development
Scandal of the month:
Sberbank employee fired for her tweet
Russia formally became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Thursday. The protocol on Russia’s accession to the Marrakech Agreement establishing the WTO took effect on August 22.
The protocol was signed in Geneva on December 16, 2011. Ministers of the WTO member states approved Russia’s accession into the organization after 18 years of negotiations.
Russia will undertake all obligations under the agreement as a WTO member state. The transitional period for liberalizing market access is generally 2-3 years, or 5-7 years for sensitive goods.
The automobile industry, agriculture, farm vehicle manufacture, and the manufacture of light-weight goods are among those sensitive areas which may be afforded additional time due to specific economic and financial difficulties.
The Russian government is developing measures aimed at acclimating Russian industries to the WTO conditions.
One of the key issues during accession negotiations was the support of the Russian farming industry. Russia’s new obligations will mean the government will be able to allocate $9 billion to its agricultural industry between 2012 and 2013; future subsidies will gradually decrease to a low of $4.4 billion in 2018.
Furthermore, in accordance with the agreements, the government has tripled its quotas for the export of pine and spruce wood from Russia in 2013.
Additionally, the Russian government previously confirmed the rates of export customs duties for Russian goods, bringing them in line with its new commitments after joining the World Trade Organization.
The export rates for natural gas, oil gases, and hydrocarbons will not change.
According to the World Trade Bank, Russia’s accession to the WTO will bring about a GDP increase of about 3.3% per year, thus leading to an expected 11% GDP increase over the course of the next ten years (about $162 billion).
In mid-November 2011, the working group created to facilitate Russia’s accession to the WTO confirmed all relevant agreements. Russia then formally ended negotiations on its accession to the WTO; Russia has been seeking WTO membership since 1993.
Active talks on Russia’s membership began in 1995. Due to the reluctance of key negotiation players Brussels and Washington, the terms were delayed. Russia stated that it would join a trade organization with its Customs Union partners Belarus and Kazakhastan, and suspended the bilateral talks. It was decided to resume the talks at a later stage.
In July 2012, President Vladimir Putin signed the federal law “On the Ratification of the Protocol on the Accession of the Russian Federation to the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization of April 15, 1994.”
The law was adopted by the parliament’s lower house on July 10 and endorsed by the senators on July 18.
The accession protocol incited a host of disputes in the business community and in parliament. An appeal was filed with the Constitutional Court, requesting that the court check whether Russia’s accession to the WTO was in compliance with the former’s Constitution.
The applicants believed constitutional procedure was violated during the protocol’s submission for ratification. They also held that some of the protocol provisions were unconstitutional.
The Constitutional Court announced on July 9 that it saw no violations involved in signing the protocol on Russia’s accession to the WTO.
By an order issued by the Ministry for Economic Development and in accordance with an instruction issued by the Russian prime minister on August 1, 2012 Leonid Osipov was appointed deputy minister for economic development, the ministry said in a press release.
Prior to the appointment Osipov worked at the Russian government’s economy and finance department, which since July 2008 until May 2012 was run by Andrey Belousov, who later took helm of the Ministry for Economic Development.
Media reports previously emerged that the deputy minister’s seat could be occupied by Sergey Belyakov, head of the department for the investment policy and development of public-private partnership at the Ministry for Economic Development.
Absolut Bank, which Belgian group KBC put up for sale, now has a new potential buyer — Alexander Lebedev, a beneficial owner of National Reserve Bank. According to the newspaper’s source, he is prepared to shell out €600 mln (1.4 of equity) for this asset and has already forwarded a written proposal to a relevant advisor. Although Lebedev himself said no word that he is going to buy Absolut Bank, experts believe that this is possible.
Kommersant business daily got information that former Duma member and entrepreneur Alexander Lebedev mulls buying Absolut Bank, the Russian subsidiary of Belgian group KBC, from three sources close to the parties to a transaction. According to one of the sources, Lebedev made an offer to acquire Absolut Bank for €600 mln, which puts the transaction price at 1.4 of equity. Another source said that Lebedev had already sent a written proposal to Morgan Stanley, KBC’s advisor for the sale of Absolut Bank. Vladimir Tumarkin, advisor to the Morgan Stanley (Russia) president, declined to discuss the topic. KBC was not available for comment.
Meanwhile, Kommersant managed to contact Alexander Lebedev only on Thursday night as he was busy on different meetings during the day. Lebedev did not confirm information on his plans to buy Absolut Bank. “I would be happy to confirm the news, but right now I simply have no funds for a deal of this scale,” he said.
However, experts think that Lebedev could deny his negotiations with KBC as he has no desire to disclose his plans prematurely.
Sergei Belyakov has been appointed deputy minister for economic development of the Russian Federation, the ministry said in a press release.
A relevant order with regard to the Ministry for Economic Development was signed in accordance with Resolution No. 1412-r issued by the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on August 3, 2012.
For the record, Sergei Belyakov graduated from the Academy of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, majoring in law, in 1998, and has worked at the ministry since 2005. Since 2009 until his latest appointment he served as the director of the department of investment policy and development of public-private partnership at the Ministry for Economic Development.
The media already reported previously that Belyakov could be appointed deputy minister. Belyakov got this seat practically after the appointment of Leonid Osipov on August 1, 2012.
The Moscow Chief Territorial Directorate of the Bank of Russia agreed upon the candidature of Evgeni Malkin to the position of Uniastrum Bank’s management board chairman, and he was appointed such on August 7, Uniastrum Bank said in a press release on Thursday.
As the bank noted, Romakov had served as the bank’s management board chairman since March 2012. This June the lending institution’s board of directors approved him as a nominee to the position of the management board chairman.
Romakov was born in 1975 and has been in banking business for over a decade. He held executive positions at Impexbank and OTP Bank. He joined Uniastrum Bank in November 2010 and has acted as the deputy management board chairman since February 2011.
Uniastrum Bank is quite a large bank with a wide network that is part of Bank of Cyprus Group. The lender has been operating on the banking market since 1994. In 2001 Uniastrum Bank launched its own money transfer system Unistream that for a long time constituted a large portion of the lending institution’s activities, and turned into an independent bank (Bank Unistream) in 2006. Its core areas of business are lending, cash settlement services provided to businesses and institutions, and retail deposits. Its owners are Bank of Cyprus Limited (80%), and also the bank’s founders Gagik Zakaryan and Georgy Piskov (10% each).
As Banki.ru data show, as of July 1, 2012 the lending institution’s assets stood at Rub 85.93 bln (No. 59 in Russia), capital (calculated in line with CBR requirements) came to Rub 11.37 bln, the credit portfolio totaled Rub 69.90 bln and obligations to households amounted to Rub 34.12 bln.
French-Japanese auto alliance Renault-Nissan and Italian banking group UniCredit are close to entering into a shareholder agreement on the establishment of a joint auto lender. Based on Kommersant’s data, the bank is scheduled to commence operations in 2013. The joint venture will be founded based on a UniCredit Group’s ‘granddaughter’ company and UniCredit Bank’s subsidiary, small Omsk-based Bank Sibir.
A source close to the bank told the paper that UniCredit and Renault-Nissan would set up a joint bank based on Bank Sibir’s license. This bank was established in 1989, ended up in the hands of Kazakhstan’s ATF Bank in 2005 and turned into Russia-based UniCredit Bank’s 100% subsidiary after the lender was acquired by UniCredit Group. Two sources at UniCredit Bank also confirmed information on JV plans. “Bank Sibir, once a universal bank, is being turned into a captive bank of the auto concern,” one of them noted.
In May when Kommersant wrote that Renault-Nissan intends to set up a joint auto lender with UniCredit Group the paper’s sources said that JV partners would be a banking arm of Renault-Nissan, Renault Credit International (RCI), and a UniCredit Group entity, with stakes equaling 60% and 40%, respectively. The JV’s second party was not disclosed. RCI specified that the parties are at the stage of penning a shareholder agreement. “A final agreement will be executed until the end of 2012, while the bank will commence operations in the first half of 2013,” said Sophie Guiot, Director of Marketing and External Communication at RCI, declining to disclose details.
Despite the fact that the final documents on the JV have yet to be signed, Bank Sibir’s reprofiling (such decision, according to the newspaper, was taken last November) is in full swing. “Since the time when the bank decided to change its business focus, its assets have declined nearly twofold (to Rub 923 mln — the newspaper’s note). At present, the bank is in ‘medicated sleep’, with the bulk of funding coming from the bank’s deposits offered on the inter-bank lending market,“ BCS-Express analyst Bogdan Zykov said. During this period the bank saw funds held by enterprises and institutions, retail loans, credits to enterprises and organizations drop to zero, IFC Solid analyst Elena Yushkova specified. “The only thing that the bank holds in modest amounts is retail deposits, but they dove 99% to Rub 1.71 mln,” she added. In addition, as of July 1, 2012 Bank Sibir had negative retained earnings of Rub 385,000, Zykov noted. However, UniCredit Bank attributed this indicator to the bank’s reprofiling.
Market participants do not rule out that in the long term Renault-Nissan will have an option to buy the remaining shares of the JV. “Most likely the joint bank will eventually end up in the hands of RCI, and for a while UniCredit Bank will provide technology support and receive commission income,” assumed Vitaly Pavlovsky, executive director at Rolf Finance.
Sberbank on Friday fired an employee who made a badly received joke on the company’s social networking sites about pensioners, and the bank apologized for the “inappropriate” attempt at humor.
The controversial comment appeared on the official Twitter account and Facebook page of Russia’s biggest lender Wednesday, causing a polarized response and prompting Valery Ryazansky, chairman of Russia’s Pensioners Union, to send an official complaint to Sberbank president German Gref.
“A people’s life hack: If you write “Sberbank” in chalk on the wall, then a line of 30 pensioners forms immediately,” read the remark that cost its author his job. “Has anyone tried? Does it work?”
Sberbank, the savings bank of the Soviet Union, is widely used by Russia’s pensioners and has not shaken its reputation for long lines despite the recent attempts of senior management, led by Gref, to modernize the bank.
“Sberbank has always been lovingly disposed towards our faithful and true clients — pensioners,” said deputy chairman Bella Zlatiks in a statement on the bank’s website.
The decision to fire the employee responsible for posting the comment was immediately criticized by Sberbank shareholder and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who is an avid user of social networking sites.
“Look at the idiots,” Navalny wrote Friday on Twitter. “Somebody decided to use Twitter normally and he was fired.”
The incident illustrates some of the tensions between Sberbank’s traditional social functions — 5 million people visit its branches every day — and the reform agenda that Gref has endeavored to push through since his appointment in 2007.
Senior managers at Sberbank liken the task of modernizing the bank to “making an elephant dance.”
Gref is himself a proponent of social media and has used his position to highlight the power of “crowdsourcing,” or using the Internet to perform tasks for free.
He even introduced then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the self-proclaimed inventor of crowdsourcing, U.S. journalist Jeff Howe, last year.
But Sberbank is not the first Russian state-owned giant to take action against staff who have taken online liberties.
National carrier Aeroflot fired flight attendant Yekaterina Solovyova in May after she joked about the crash of a Russian Superjet in Indonesia on her Twitter account.
Solovyova was hired as a manger by Vkontakte, Russia’s most popular social networking site, a month later.
The Interpol General Secretariat has issued a red notice for former Bank of Moscow head Andrei Borodin, stating that he is suspected of committing a grave crime. A red notice means that the organization’s member states may undertake any legal measures to detain or arrest the individual in question.
The Interior Ministry’s Investigative Department opened a criminal case against Borodin and his deputy Dmitry Akulinin in late 2010. They have been charged with embezzling 12.76 billion rubles ($400.23 million) from the Moscow budget via a loan to the Premier Estate company in 2010. The bank held an additional emission of shares worth 15 billion rubles ($470.49 million) before granting the loan. The shares were purchased by the Moscow City Hall as a major shareholder.
In November 2011, Interpol’s Russian office placed Borodin and Akulinin on the international wanted list, as they previously fled the country.
It became known in April 2011 that Borodin had left Russia for London. The Prosecutor General’s Office has submitted an inquiry on Borodin’s extradition to the UK.
Sberbank demonstrating one of its bus-borne mobile offices near the All-Russia Exhibition Center this week.
Sberbank is ramping up a project to use buses, called “mobile offices,” for banking services.
The state lender’s idea is probably to invent something that nobody else has to attract customers, Natalya Beryozina, an analyst at UralSib, said by phone Wednesday. She added that she has not heard of similar projects in Russia or abroad.
The project is in line with Sberbank’s modernization agenda, she said. But it is unlikely to have a major effect, and if it does, it can only be felt in the long run, Beryozina added.
Sberbank’s retail banking business is already growing fast, and the new project will be a “drop in the ocean,” she said.
Sberbank mobile offices have been used recently to assist flood relief in the southern city of Krymsk, the bank said on its website.
The purpose of mobile offices is to provide banking services in distant areas with underdeveloped transportation infrastructure, the bank said in its financial report for 2011.
One mobile office serves several communities. There were about 100 mobile offices when the report was released, and their number was increasing.
Mobile offices are armored and equipped with a payment terminal, a cash desk and a compartment for a bank employee, RIA-Novosti reported last year. They also have an electric generator and security cameras.
State-owned Sberbank and Britain’s partially nationalized The Royal Bank of Scotland teamed up this week to extend a $500 million credit line to Gazprom, Sberbank said in a statement Tuesday.
The money will go to a subsidiary of the gas export giant, the Novy Urengoi Gas and Chemical Complex, to finance the building of a low-density polyethylene production facility in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.
Gazprom will guarantee the three-year loan but its size is significantly below the upper limit of $830,000 that Gazprom was prepared to guarantee, according to documents provided by Gazprom on Tuesday.
The polyethylene facility, which will cost about $1.7 billion to construct, was first proposed in 1993, before being subsequently mothballed. The project is currently in its “investment phase,” Sberbank said without elaborating.
Funds for the construction, which in 2009 was expected to have been completed this year, have already been raised several times.
Banking giant VTB issued a three-year, $400 million credit line for building work to the Novy Urengoi Gas and Chemical Complex in September 2009.
Sberbank is listed as the primary creditor and The Royal Bank of Scotland as a creditor in the Gazprom documents. But the exact role of the two banks was not immediately clear.
Part of the money will be provided on the basis of a currency swap, organized jointly by The Royal Bank of Scotland and Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender said.
A spokeswoman for The Royal Bank of Scotland had not returned requests for comment by late Tuesday evening. A spokesman for Sberbank declined to comment.
The Royal Bank of Scotland was bailed out by the U.K. government during the 2009 financial crisis and is still 84 percent owned by the state. It has been criticized recently for a reluctance to lend to U.K. businesses.
The Novy Urengoi Gas and Chemical Complex will be built by Stroitransgaz, the construction company controlled by billionaire Gennady Timchenko, an associate of President Vladimir Putin.
Konstantin Korishchenko, head of the Russian office of American bank Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has left one of the world’s largest banks. His choice fell to Russia-based Investbank, which was established by might-have-been auto magnate Vladimir Antonov, Vedomosti business daily wrote.
Today Investbank’s supervisory board intends to appoint Korishchenko management board chairman, said a source close to the bank’s shareholders. The bank’s shareholder Sergei Mastyugin (directly holds 19.99%, but market participants consider him to be the bank’s controlling shareholder) confirmed this.
“Hiring for the bank’s key position an executive of such level as Korishchenko will help the bank meet goals set for the key areas of business (lending of hi-tech concerns and trade firms), assist in deepening trade relations with investors from the People’s Republic of China and draw investments to the Russian economy,” Mastyugin said in his comments provided through his representative.
Korishchenko declined to comment. “We learned that Korishchenko is to leave Merrill Lynch on Thursday, but he said no word where in particular he’ll be working,” said his former colleague.
For the record, in 2000 Korishchenko left CBR’s open market operations department to take the helm of RTS Stock as president, in 2001 he joined Troika Dialog as a managing director and in 2002 through 2008 he acted as the deputy CBR chairman, overseeing stock and FX market operations. In autumn 2008 he was appointed MICEX CEO and joined Merrill Lynch’s Russian office in October 2010.
The Russian government wants to allow not only private pension funds, but also banks and insurers to deal with future pensions. These should be products for at least 10 years with tax remissions, Vedomosti business daily wrote.
The Finance Ministry is compiling a universal pension product that banks, insurance companies and private pension funds would offer to households.
At the end of June vice PM Olga Golodets ordered the Finance Ministry to work out a financial product that would encourage households and employees to independently and voluntarily wire money for future pensions, said a source who attended a meeting held by Golodets. “This should be a product that might be an alternative if the cumulative part of the pension is cancelled or cut dramatically,” a Vedomosti source at another interested body said. Pension reserves, i.e. contributions made by employees and households for private pensions, totaled Rub 718 bln as of April 1, 2012, while pension accruals amounted to nearly Rub 1.9 tln.
Vladimir Putin also called in his pre-election article in January 2012 for opening cumulative pension accounts directly at banks.
These should be resources for “at least 10 years”, such minimal period of pension payments is established in the document. Terms for such products have yet to be determined.
The Finance Ministry proposes prompting households and employers to sign up for such pension programs via fiscal benefits, with tax exemptions covering contributions to a retirement plan, income derived from the investment of pension accruals and also payments when a man retires. Currently such taxation scheme is applied only with regard to the mandatory pension insurance, in case of voluntary insurance a tax is imposed on investment income if individuals entered into agreements in their favor, and if the insurer is an employer, tax benefits are provided only when contributions are made to a retirement plan.
A group of deputies on Wednesday sent a bill to the State Duma that would ban government officials from owning properties and opening bank accounts abroad, in a measure to increase transparency among officials and prevent them from being recruited by foreign security services.
The bill targets officials in both federal and municipal government agencies, including those working in the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Investigative Committee, the Federal Customs Service, as well as State Duma deputies and the Federation Council senators, said one of its authors, Vyacheslav Lysakov, a deputy with United Russia.
It also bans spouses and minor children of those officials from having any foreign assets, said Lysakov, who is also chief of staff of the All-Russia People’s Front.
Passing the bill will “ensure the independence of Russia and promote making unbiased governance decisions,” he said in a telephone interview. “If a person has one foot in a foreign country, this can’t speak in favor of that person’s independence.”
Andrei Lugovoi, co-author of the draft and a deputy with the Liberal Democratic Party in the State Duma, said that individuals who own property abroad are potential candidates to be employed by foreign security services.
“Given that officials often have access to state secrets, the safety of Russia depends on whether they have property abroad,” he told RIA-Novosti.
Pushing forward this initiative might also be an effort to counter criticism by the opposition of the NGO law, which requires nongovernmental groups receiving funding from abroad and engaging in political activity to register as foreign agents, said Sergei Markov, vice rector of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.
One of the law’s harshest critics, A Just Russia deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, said last month that United Russia is the only party in the State Duma that receives foreign grants and that those supporting it “vote for the withdrawal of money from Russia.”
Later that month, Ponomaryov tweeted that he plans to draft a bill requiring that State Duma deputies who keep more than half of their savings in foreign bank accounts be checked by the Federal Security Service “to figure out whether that person is acting in the interests of foreign countries.”
Lysakov said the bill he had drafted with other deputies, who include Valery Trapeznikov of United Russia and Alexander Ageyev of A Just Russia, will be considered by the State Duma in the fall and — if passed — will go into effect starting January 1. After that, government officials will have six months to sell their real estate abroad and close bank accounts, transferring the funds to Russia.
The document stipulates that those failing to do so would face a fine of 5 million rubles ($154,650) to 10 million rubles or a prison term of up to five years, Lysakov said.
Such a punishment might be too tough for the goals voiced by the authors of the bill, and it makes enforcement of those measures questionable, said Andrei Goltsblat, managing partner at Goltsblat BLP.
The measure might be effective in the fight against corruption, as it might help prevent tax evasion, he said by telephone.
However, the authors of the bill said it might face resistance from their Duma colleagues, a large portion of whom own properties outside the country.
The deputies “won’t be very excited” about the initiative, which has a 50/50 chance of being approved in the fall, Lysakov said.
“Our task will be to convince colleagues that this measure is being taken on time … and fulfills the citizens’ demand” to ensure more transparency in the country’s governance, he said.
The government wants to legislatively allow borrowers to carry out debt restructuring procedures before calling for bankruptcy. This initiative will make possible to keep the balance between the interests of a lending institution and a borrower. Bankers want to know which funds a borrower will be able to use to go through restructuring if the borrower is on the verge of bankruptcy, RBC daily wrote.
On August 24, 2012 the Association of Russian Banks (ARB) posted on its website amendments to a draft law on the bankruptcy of households, which are to be submitted by the government, where it is proposed to introduce on a legislative basis a procedure to restructure debt of individual debtors. An explanatory note to the amendments says that the only opportunity for a bank to recover debts from an insolvent debtor is to initial enforcement proceedings. In addition, it is noted that this measure is to the benefit of first-class creditors only, while those beyond this category have to seek other ways to recover debt, e.g. to permanently keep an eye on a debtor’s financial standing, exploit semi-criminal ways of getting debt paid, etc. This, in turn, increases a bank’s credit servicing costs and, consequently, lifts interest rates.
The amendments aim to approve on a legislative basis the possibility to restructure debt and restore a debtor’s creditworthiness. This “will allow a debtor who is in a difficult situation, taking into account its current income or income to be generated in the future, to map out the fulfillment of its obligations to the creditors and, as a result, restore its creditworthiness, lower risks and expenses of creditors as it is difficult to recover debt, and also to reduce expenses related to the administration of an individual’s bankruptcy”.
As ARB head Garegin Tosunyan told RBC daily, “if we limit borrowers’ possibilities to restructure debt, this will ultimately strike a blow to banks at a later time. We try to take into account the balance of interests so that the draft law sails through and in order to comply with business ethics, i.e. not to drive a debtor to such a situation so that he/she has no wish to go through bankruptcy in a civilized manner”.
Yevgeny Fyodorov, one of the United Russia deputies backing the legislation.
A group of Duma deputies is seeking to deprive the Central Bank of its interest rate setting powers, saying that it was set up as a tool of the U.S. government, in a move that has provoked hilarity and incredulity among experts.
Transferring the ability to determine interest rates to the government will “enliven the Russian economy and create new jobs,” said United Russia Deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov, who is also a member of the Duma’s Budget and Tax Committee.
On Aug. 11, Fyodorov and three other deputies from United Russia submitted to the Duma legislation that would leave the Central Bank with only a regulatory function. The bill will have its first reading in November and could be passed by the lower chamber before the end of the year.
But industry insiders have responded with disbelief. News reports of the initiative were doing the rounds as joke e-mails, one Western banker in Moscow said.
The Central Bank holds itself aloof from internal Russian problems, Fyodorov said by telephone without elaborating. He added that if interest rates were set by the government, they could be slashed.
The regulator’s main refinancing rate has been at 8 percent throughout 2012, but 1 percent would be a more appropriate figure and make it competitive with European banks, Fyodorov said.
Experts pointed out, however, that a huge drop in interest rates could cause the ruble to fall off a cliff and depreciate at a pace similar to that of the 1998 financial crisis.
“Every Russian would take all his rubles out of the bank and put them into dollars,” the Western banker said. “It’s the surest way to feed capital outflow.”
And there is little belief that the proposal could actually become law. “It’s very radical,” said Vladimir Osakovsky, chief economist at Merrill Lynch in Moscow.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s cabinet would not support the legislation, an anonymous source told the Prime business news agency Wednesday.
The other deputies sponsoring the bill are Viktor Zvagelsky, deputy chairman of the Duma’s Economic Policy, Innovation Development and Entrepreneurship Committee; Andrei Murgoi, a member of the Financial Markets Committee; and Anton Romanov, a member of the Energy Committee.
Fyodorov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta Wednesday that the Central Bank, established in the early 1990s, was “set up from the very first to realize the goals of the United States.”
The former deputy atomic energy minister under Boris Yeltsin was involved in the submission of a law earlier this year to the Duma that would require all foreign media outlets receiving financing from abroad to describe themselves as “foreign agents.”
“Every ruble placed on the market by the Central Bank automatically supplements the American budget,” Fyodorov said.
In September, the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region Commercial Court will hear creditors’ requests to enter claims totaling over 5 billion rubles ($155 million) into the PiN Telecom schedule of creditors, the Supreme Commercial Court reports on its website.
A claim worth 1.79 billion rubles ($55 million) will be handled on September 12. A similar hearing over a 1.423 billion ruble ($44 million) debt will be held on September 26.
In addition, the TGI Leasing’s lawsuit to recover 828.1 million rubles ($25.5 million) will also be reviewed on September 12 and the Leasing Group Industry’s (LGI) action for 992.55 million rubles ($30.6 million) will be considered on September 19.
The court put PiN Telecom into administration in June after the company filed for bankruptcy.
The Moscow Commercial Court has ordered PiN Telecom and LGI to pay Sberbank savings bank a total of 958.4 million rubles ($29.5 million) under loan agreements, although initially the bank claimed for 969.8 million rubles ($29.8 million).
PiN Telecom is a communications services provider in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region. Its fiber-optics network stretches to more than 2,000 kilometers. Its clients include circa 3,500 entities and over 170,000 individuals.
Master-Bank has filed a lawsuit against a number of media services that reported that its Vice President Yevgeny Rogachev was detained in April for his alleged involvement in the illegal cashing of funds.
The Moscow Commercial Court will hear the lawsuit on October 8. Law enforcement authorities said Rogachev was a member of a criminal gang consisting of bankers whose participants illegally cashed over 2 billion rubles ($62.9 million). Businessmen, who evaded taxes via illegal schemes, and criminals, who laundered the money, were the gang’s clients.
Earlier, Master-Bank told the PRIME business news agency that Rogachev was the head of a corporate business department at the bank and resigned on March 1.
Banking malpractices have been uncovered in a number of other banks. Investigators have revealed that their management used fly-by-night companies to transfer funds under false payment orders to different accounts for subsequent cash withdrawal. The scheme operators charged a fee of 3 to 7 percent for their services.
Law enforcement authorities conducted 29 searches in Master-Bank, Zolostbank and Strategy bank on March 14.
Contact person: Joanne Traynor
1-hour webinar broadcast live from London Stock Exchange (12pm BST). Learn about opportunities big data provides and how info about customers, products, accounts and transactions can be utilised. Expert panellists from Barclays, HSBC & FIS.
Contact person: Pantea Rahmani
At “First World Banking Forum” in Tehran 15 top International Bankers from United Kingdom, Canada, Spain and Australia will speak about their expertise on Mobile Banking, Personal Branding for Banker, Banking Crises, Banking Ethics and etc.
Organized by: Hamayesh Farazan