Ten Russian banks blacklisted for money laundering

A small amount of Russian banks is still involved in operations that look very much like the money laundering

Russian Federal Service for Financial Monitoring has announced that it had drawn a new list of Russian banks that were allegedly involved in money-laundering activities. However, the head of the above-mentioned agency, Viktor Zubkov, did not reveal the names of the ten banks put on the list. A similar announcement triggered off last year's turmoil in the Russian banking system.

According to Mr. Zubkov, a small amount of Russian banks is still involved in operations that look very much like the money laundering. He said that “the majority” of such banks are “small-sized” banks. It is unclear how “small-sized” they can be because Mr. Zubkov declined to name the banks blacklisted by the federal agency. As The Kommersant points out, those described as “mostly small-sized” banks might also include a couple of large ones. 

A spokesman for the Central Bank of the Russian Federation said ten days ago that the Central bank was considering a banking license revocation for two banks. “We are now checking two more banks which are openly involved in the shady deals,” said he. Last week the licenses of two unnamed banks were revoked by the Central Bank. No money laundering is said to have been involved in the case. The banks reportedly lost licenses due to their bad financial situation. By all appearances, the spokesman was referring to some other banks.

Last year Mr. Zubkov issued a similar statement about ten Russian banks suspected of laundering illegal funds. Following his statement, numerous unofficial lists of the blacklisted banks began circulating through the market. According to an anonymous source with one of the “small-sized” banks who spoke to The Kommersant last Friday, similar lists have also become available this time around.

Hopefully, this time history will repeat itself as a farce, not as a tragedy. However, Mr. Zubkov seems to be fully determined to combat the money laundering. He admonished the Central Bank for not doing enough in the field of financial control over some banks involved in the “laundry service”. It is the Central Bank that has the prerogative to check on banks and revoke licenses, the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring can not punish the wrongdoers by itself, it can only call on the Central Bank and the police to join forces. Mr. Zubkov sounded confident that Russia's top banking authority and his agency should work in much closer cooperation.

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Author`s name Olga Savka