Bankers robbed their bank

Former Gazbank executives are charged with abuse and fraud.
As Kommersant learned, in Samara, Mikhail Lipovetsky and his deputy Vladimir Semin were detained for allegedly stealing funds from the local Gazbank. Both are charged with the issuance of obviously bad loans to individuals and legal entities, as well as the replacement of highly liquid assets of the bank with illiquid bonds of doubtful structures. It is possible that the investigation may have questions for Vladimir Avetisyan, who is considered by law enforcement authorities to be the ultimate beneficiary of Gazbank, which owed its creditors more than 20 billion rubles after bankruptcy.

The criminal case of abuse of authority and especially large fraud (part 1 of article 201 and part 4 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Samara Region has been investigating for more than a year. Until recently, almost all of his former leadership passed through him as witnesses.

After collecting and analyzing information about how from 2015 to July 2018, when the license was revoked from Gazbank, its management withdrew more than 7 billion rubles from a credit institution, employees of the GUEBiPK Ministry of Internal Affairs and their Samara colleagues concluded that they were directly involved in this they took Mikhail Lipovetsky and Vladimir Semin. The latter worked at Gazbank for almost a quarter of a century, starting with the post of chief accountant, and for the past 20 years he has been deputy chairman of the board of a credit organization. His colleague Mikhail Lipovetsky was appointed to the post of the Gazbank’s board in November 2016 and left her five days before the license was revoked.

So far, according to Kommersant’s information, Mikhail Lipovetsky and Vladimir Semin are charged with issuing loans with a “disproportionate amount of collateral” to five individuals and two legal entities in the amount of about 600 million rubles.

In addition, the investigation believes that bankers entered into lease agreements with some creditors, knowing that the value of property taken from them to pay off debt was several times less than debt obligations. Also, Mikhail Lipovetsky and Vladimir Semin are tested for involvement in the replacement of liquid securities on the bank’s balance sheet with illiquid default bonds of Transfinance LLC and unsecured mortgage participation certificates “Credit Portfolio” worth more than 1.5 billion rubles.

During the searches in the houses of both persons involved, accounting documents, draft records and electronic data carriers were seized, which, according to the investigation, confirm the illegal activities of the former top managers of Gazbank.

As a result, the 48-year-old Vladimir Semin, who denies his guilt, was sent to a pre-trial detention center at the request of the investigation by the October District Court of Samara. But Mikhail Lipovetsky, according to Kommersant’s information, allegedly fully admitted his guilt, though so far only in abuse of authority, and remained at liberty under recognizance not to leave.

We also note that now the investigation is checking for involvement in the alleged crimes and other former top managers of Gazbank, including its founder Vladimir Avetisyan (since 2013, he has been Anatoly Chubais’s deputy at Rusnano. - “Kommersant”), which law enforcement officials consider to be the ultimate beneficiary of this lending institution.

According to Kommersant’s information, the investigation has questions for him precisely on the deal between Gazbank and Transfinance LLC, which repaid loans taken by structures controlled by Mr. Avetisyan with its worthless bonds. So far, as part of the investigation, Vladimir Avetisyan was interrogated as a witness.

Recall that the regulator revoked the license from Gazbank due to the fact that the credit institution was hiding its real financial situation and violated the Central Bank's regulations on counteracting the legalization of proceeds from crime. In addition, auditors identified signs of falsification of financial statements in Gazbank. In September 2019, the Arbitration Court of the Samara Region declared Gazbank bankrupt with a debt to creditors in the amount of more than 20 billion rubles.