Bank of unknown fathers

Promsvyazbank will keep its management secret to avoid US sanctions for its managers.
Promsvyazbank, which soon should begin work as a basic bank of the Russian defense industry, can classify the composition of the board. This step is designed to protect the bank's leadership from international sanctions. Legislative basis for the preservation of the incognito of top managers, lawyers say, have already created amendments to the law "On Banks and Banking Activities", adopted in late 2017. But who can get protection, the government should determine.

The fact that Promsvyazbank is considering the possibility not to disclose the personal composition of the management bodies, told Kommersant two sources close to the bank. According to one of them, such a measure can help protect the management of the bank from falling under personal sanctions. However, both interlocutors noted that the relevant decision has not yet been taken. The Bank of Russia did not respond to a request from Kommersant, PSB refused to comment.

Promsvyazbank since 1995 belonged to brothers Dmitry and Alexey Ananyev. In mid-December 2017, the Central Bank announced the bank's reorganization, and in January 2018 it became known that a support bank would be established on its base to service the state defense order and large state contracts (see Kommersant on January 19). The bank itself after the capitalization will be transferred to the Federal Property Management Agency. Currently, there are negotiations with a number of credit institutions on the transfer of assets related to state defense order to Promsvyazbank.

The ex-head of the Russian export center Petr Fradkov, appointed at the end of April as the head of the temporary administration of Promsvyazbank, told Kommersant in an interview with Kommersant that the bank is working on various scenarios for the development of events in case sanctions are imposed (see "Kommersant" on April 27). In particular, partners are seeking in advance for conducting cross-border transfers, and the international payment systems are not excluded from cooperation with the bank.

At the same time, Mr. Fradkov assured that he is not afraid of personal sanctions, since he does not have accounts abroad and does not consider the issue of freedom of movement. On the board, he said, there will be "basically new people."

Now banks are required to disclose on their website information about the qualifications and experience of the members of the board of directors, the board, the chief accountant and his deputy, the heads and accountants of the branches. In addition, credit organizations disclose the ultimate owners. In case of issuance of public securities, the personal composition of the issuer's management is also indicated in the quarterly reports.

On the site of Promsvyazbank, in which the temporary administration continues to operate, since January 18, only the qualifications and experience of the chairman of the board (they are still formally listed by Dmitry Ananyev), the chief accountant and his deputies, are revealed in the information on the board.

The Central Bank has already developed a number of measures aimed at classifying information on persons under sanctions and on deals related to state defense order. In particular, one of the draft resolutions allows not to disclose the shareholders included in the sanctions lists. This right seems to have already been used by the co-owner of "Renova" and "Rusal" Viktor Vekselberg, who before entering the sanctions list on April 6, 2018 was among the shareholders of the bank "International Financial Club" and Metkombank.

At the end of 2017, amendments were made to the Law "On Banks and Banking Activities," which give the government the power to "determine the cases in which credit institutions are not entitled to disclose information", subject to disclosure in accordance with this law. According to Nikolai Kolenchuk, partner of the FMG Group, it is probably these amendments that give Promsvyazbank a theoretical opportunity to classify the board. "To do this, we need to persuade the Cabinet to issue a resolution that includes the bank in the list of persons who do not disclose information about the board and determine the cases in which such disclosure is not carried out," explained Mr. Kolenchuk. "For example, no one except central banks of Russia and Iran. "