Russian Capital to be Repatriated

The National Investment Council compiles a black list of Western banks profiting from laundering Russia’s dirty money
When Russia was removed from the FATF list of countries that take no measures against money laundering, the country decided to look at the money laundering problem closer and find the institutions involved in money laundering, not only domestic, but even foreign ones. It was probably the effect of President Putin’s warning to Russian oligarchs when he promised a crack down on money laundering and unfair business tactics.

As it became clear yesterday, the National Investment Council, which joins the leadership of Russia’s largest banks and industrial associations, is going to compile a black list of western banks involved in laundering money from Russia, President of the National Reserve Bank Alexander Lebedev said at a briefing in Moscow. As is known, the National Reserve bank itself has some problems abroad because of Western banks, which are not always conscientious, and because there are no important international bipartite agreements.

According to Alexander Lebedev, although the problem of mere amnesty of finance previously removed from the country is actively discussed, this method won’t be efficient. “It is necessary to develop political and economic stimuli for the reparation of capital to Russia,” Lebedev says, in particular, that he thinks it would be very effective if Russian money is taken out of Western banks and that actual guarantees should be provided so that the money will be invested in Russia. For this very reason, it is necessary to know exactly which foreign banks launder money from Russia.

The National Investment Council provides estimates that the 100-150 billion dollars that have been removed from Russia during the past ten years are mostly likely currently deposited in foreign banks. Analysts of the council are sure that not more than 3-5% of the money is of criminal origin. The rest of the sum is deposited abroad for the sake of protecting the money from the high political and economic risks in Russia.

To tell the truth, there are several reasons why businessmen are inclined to take capital out of the country. Let’s remember the strongest protests of oligarchs headed by the Russian Union of Businessmen and Industrialists against obligatory sale of currency proceeds by exporting countries. However, the oligarchs and the Central Bank of Russia have not yet reached an agreement. Protests of the Russian oligarchs and the Russian Union of Businessmen and Industrialists considerably contributed to the development and adoption of the legislation “On currency regulation”.

Alexander Lebedev has considerable experience in working on foreign financial markets, which is why he is sure that if pressure is exerted on banks from Switzerland, France, and Luxembourg, at least 5-10 of them will give Russia about 5-15 billion dollars each. And he is sure that if necessary conditions are created, up to 50% of this capital may return to Russia.

Ahtyam Akhtyrov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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