“Supposed criminal accused of large scale fraud is detained by law enforcement of the Principality of Monaco”, reported the main department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow on January 18. The press service did not mention the name or surname of the accused. Three hours later, RBC and Kommersant learned from their sources that the former Chairman of the Board of Investtorgbank, Vladimir Gudkov, had been detained in Monaco. Now, he is being extradited, and in Russia he faces a criminal case on charges of embezzling 500 million rubles. Russiangate tells what is known about this story.
What is this bank?
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, commercial banks began to emerge massively throughout Russia. Many of them were closed as swiftly as they opened. Investtorgbank appeared in 1994 and was specializing in servicing enterprises and organizations, small and medium-sized businesses, and issuing mortgages. In 2012, it took the 19th place in the rating of Rusipoteka (specialized publication – RG) on the volume of issued mortgage loans and the 2nd place in terms of the volume of repurchased loans.
By 2013, the bank had 21 branches and 80 additional offices in Russia. In May 2014, the financial and credit organization was ranked 51st among the 200 largest Russian banks according to the National Rating Agency (NRA – an independent organization analyzing the banking sector – RG).
Resolution and money laundering schemes
During the crisis in 2014, the bank had problems. In August 2015, the Central Bank introduced an interim administration in the financial and credit institution to “protect the interests of depositors and bank’s creditors”. At that time, the bank was the 56th in terms of assets and 72nd in terms of equity. Individuals had 55.9 billion rubles in the bank. In late September, the Central Bank decided to reorganize Investtorgbank. The Central Bank commissioned the resolution of the financial and credit organization to Transcapitalbank. The Deposit Insurance Agency (ASV) allocated 29.7 billion rubles for the resolution for a period of ten years, and another 19.5 billion rubles for maintenance of liquidity for a period of two years.
During the reorganization, it became clear that the bank’s management forged documents on profits and capital. This information simply was not consistent with the reality. The discrepancy between the facts and reports amounted to 32 billion rubles.
In addition, it turned out that 3.4 billion rubles were siphoned off through promissory notes through Rosinbank, the commercial bank of Kyrgyzstan, formerly known as Zelkar Bank. It also belonged to Vladimir Gudkov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Investtorgbank.
There were three schemes for withdrawing money. According to the first one, Russian residents bought bills, assigned the rights to them to Rosinvestbank via endorsement. Then, the bills were presented for payment.
The second scheme is simpler: the money was transferred from Investtorgbank to Rosinvestbank clients for the purchase of shares in companies in Kyrgyzstan. The companies never existed.
The third way to withdraw money is loans and advance payments to Kyrgyz companies, whose transaction passports were closed with a negative difference between the receipt of funds and expenses.
Courts, arrests, being in the wind
As of the beginning of 2016, the main shareholders of the bank were the Dutch company J.C. Flowers & Co (19.99%), Luxembourg Starr International (19.99%), ITB Holding (19.99%), Vladimir Udaltsov (16.04%) and Bank President Vladimir Gudkov (16.65%) .
In August 2016, the Moscow Commercial Court ordered to recover from Gudkov and Shurmin (Deputy Chairman of the Board of Investtorgbank) 3.6 billion rubles. The court decided that they acted unlawfully and knew that he incurred losses to the bank by acting this way. Even before the decision was delivered, Gudkov fled the country, but still tried to appeal to the decision of the commercial court through his lawyers. In vain.
After the fake accounts were found, the Investigative Committee instituted a criminal case on embezzlement against former owners of the bank on the fact of illegal withdrawal of funds. In October 2016, Investtorgbank’s office was searched by the law enforcement – operatives seized the relevant documents.
In February 2017, Gudkov’s stakes in ten companies, two plots of land and a house in the Vladimir Region were seized. He was also placed on the international wanted list. 11 months later, he was detained in the Principality of Monaco. According to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Gudkov is charged with signing mortgage purchase agreements between the bank and another organization. The latter provided brokerage services for mortgage operations. By doing that, they withdrew 500 million rubles.
Now, the Russian security forces address the issue on the extradition of the former Chairman of the Board of Investtorgbank to Russia.