"Daughter" of Gazprombank in Switzerland was banned from attracting private clients

The Swiss regulator FINMA banned the "daughter" of Gazprombank to attract new private customers. This decision was taken on the basis of the audit conducted in connection with the Panamanian scandal of 2016.
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The Office for Supervision of Financial Market Operations in Switzerland (FINMA) banned the Swiss subsidiary of Gazprombank from attracting new private customers "until further notice," the organization's website said. FINMA revealed serious shortcomings in the work of Gazprombank in terms of combating money-laundering of retail customers, the website of the regulator states. At the same time, as highlighted in the release, the bank was not able to provide a convincing justification for a number of operations that came under review.

In 2016, based on the Panama documents, the Swiss regulator launched an investigation into more than 30 Swiss banks. According to FINNMA, the audit of the local "daughter" of Gazprombank showed that the bank seriously violated the regulator's requirements for protection from money laundering in the period from 2006 to 2016. In many cases, the degree of transaction risk was determined either incorrectly or with delay. In addition, the bank did not always report suspicious business relations to the Swiss Money Laundering Office (MROS) at the appropriate time. As noted by the regulator, many violations related to the operations of the Russische Kommerzial Bank, 100% of which Gazprombank acquired in 2009.

"The regulator instructed the bank to review its anti-money laundering processes. FINMA will closely monitor the implementation of these measures and appointed an external auditor to monitor the process, "the report said.

The press service of Gazprombank stressed that it was only private customers, "at least", with all other customers the bank operates in the same regime.

In the Panama investigation of Novaya Gazeta on April 4, 2016, it was alleged that cellist Sergei Roldugin's company International Media Overseas from Panama opened an account with the Swiss subsidiary of Gazprombank. Then Roldugin should point out that he is a "politically significant person" (PEP) or that he is familiar with another PEP.

However, in both cases he replied "no", wrote Novaya Gazeta, although at that time it was already known from open sources about his friendship with Vladimir Putin. Gazprombank was to check Raldugin's statement, said former member of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) Mark Pete, but this was not done. Immediately after the publication of the "Panamanian" investigation, the Swiss regulator announced its readiness to check the banks.

Another "daughter" of the Russian bank, which was noted in the "Panamanian" documents - is the Cyprus bank RCB Bank, which was controlled by VTB. At the time of publication of the Panama Dossier, VTB owned 46.29% of RCB shares, 19.85% - FC Otkritie, and the remaining 33.85% were owned by the Cyprus company Crendaro Investments Limited, whose shareholders, according to the Cyprus company registrar, parity basis was RCB CEO Kirill Zimarin and RCB Trustees, 100% owned by the bank itself.

Now VTB (46.29%) and Crendaro Investments Limited (49.9%), as well as Mitarva Limited (3.81%) are listed on the bank's website among the owners. Novaya Gazeta wrote that RCB Bank was one of the most important sources of funding for an offshore group affiliated with Sergei Roldugin. Then the press service of VTB said that "the information contained in the ICIJ investigation regarding unsecured loans issued by RCB Bank Ltd is untrue."