Elvira Nabiullina hid the shares of Viktor Vekselberg in Russian banks

From the site of the Central Bank, references to the shares of Viktor Vekselberg in Metkombank and the bank of the IFC have disappeared. This is unlikely to save them from the risks associated with finding a businessman under sanctions.
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The Lost Shareholder

Viktor Vekselberg disappeared from the list of shareholders of the Metcombank on the Central Bank's website, 9.9% of which belonged to the bank through Renova LLC. On the website of Metkombank, LLC "Renova" is on the list of shareholders (100% in OOO "Renova" belongs to Vekselberg, it follows from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities).

At the same time, Vekselberg and Renova were present on the scheme of the bank's shareholders on the Central Bank's website at least until the end of last week. This is shown by the version of the corresponding document of the Central Bank, which was preserved in Google's cache.

RBC sent inquiries to the Central Bank, Metkombank and the Renova Group; At the time of publication of the material, no replies to these requests were received. Metkombank (headquartered in Kamensk-Uralsky) ranks 78th in terms of assets among Russian banks, according to the Interfax-100 rating.

Metkombank is not Vekselberg's only banking asset. Through the Cyprus Winterlux Limited, he owns 39.4% of the shares of the International Financial Club (IFC). In addition to Vekselberg, the co-owner of this bank is Mikhail Prokhorov (27.74%), another 19.71% belongs to his group ONEXIM, and 13.14% is owned by Ekaterina Ignatova, the wife of the head of Rostek, Sergei Chemezov, who is also under US sanctions.

In January, ONEXIM filed an application with the FAS for the purchase of a 100% stake in IFC, at the end of March it was approved.

On the morning of April 16, Viktor Vekselberg was still on the list of IFC's shareholders on the CB website. After some time, this information disappeared. As of 13:00 Moscow time, instead of a file with data on shareholders, the inscription "Error 404" was issued. A representative of the IFC informed RBC that the bank was in compliance with the disclosure requirements and information about shareholders is available on its website.

Oleg Deripaska, also included in the latest SDN list (Specially Designated Nationals List), through Ingosstrakh owns a stake in Soyuz Bank. On April 16, he was still listed among the bank's shareholders in the list on the Central Bank's website.

Remove from site

In December, the State Duma passed a law on the right of the government to determine cases when banks and other financial institutions may not disclose or limit the disclosure of information. At the end of March, the Bank of Russia reported that it was working to restrict access to information that could be used to identify links between banks and individuals and legal entities that had been sanctioned. The regulator noted that he had drafted government decrees according to which information on beneficiaries appearing in foreign sanctions lists is not subject to disclosure on the websites of the Central Bank and the financial organizations themselves.

Now banks are required to disclose the chains of controlling owners right up to a public joint stock company or an individual no later than ten days after they learned about the relevant changes.

But in order to hide information that has a risk for banks in connection with Western sanctions, the Central Bank may not be waiting for official regulatory documents. In the explanations for the Association of Russian Banks, the regulator pointed out that "before the adoption of relevant legislative changes," the list of authorized banks conducting banking support for transactions under the state defense order was deleted from the Central Bank website, and information on those included in the sanctions lists (SDN) Russian legal entities and individuals, under the control or significant influence of which are lending institutions. "

Sanctions for bribery in Komi

The US Treasury introduced Viktor Vekselberg to the sanctions list on April 6, 2018. He was named among the "oligarchs" who "allowed Vladimir Putin's regime to enrich himself". The list of companies also included the Renova Group of Companies. US citizens and US companies can not conduct business with both subanking businessmen, and with those companies where these businessmen have a controlling stake.

In late October 2017, the US Ministry of Finance gave an explanation of the application of sanctions against individuals and companies that help conduct transactions in the interests of Russians from the sanctions lists. The US authorities can impose sanctions on financial institutions (banks, brokers, investment companies), which are known to promote "meaningful financial transactions" in the interest of individuals on the SDN list.

In his commentary on the inclusion of Vekselberg in the sanctions list, the US Treasury noted that Vekselberg is working in the Russian energy sector and also recalled the case concerning Boris Vainzikher, the head of the holding company T-Plus (part of Renova) and the managing director and minority shareholder of " Renova "Evgenia Olkhovik, who are suspected of bribing the leadership of the Komi Republic.

Evgeny Olkhovik is also one of the shareholders of Metkombank. In addition to him, several other members of the board of directors of Renova, Mikhail Sivoldayev, Igor Cheremikin, Andrei Storch, Irina Matveeva and Vladimir Kremer are on the list. Earlier 99.98% of the bank belonged to the Cyprus company Vekselberg Winterlux Limited, but in December 2016 the businessman decided to make the bank's shareholders top managers "Renova." The group explained that part of Metcombank's shares were sold to top management to increase the bank's stability and increase the motivation of Renova's directors. For the first half of 2017, the bank paid dividends to shareholders for a total of 286 million rubles.

Pointless step

The reason for the removal of information from the Central Bank's website is the risk of US secondary sanctions that can be imposed against foreign financial institutions (these include Russian banks) if they help individuals on the SDN list conduct significant transactions, RBC said the head of the French branch of the British consulting company Aperio Intelligence George Voloshin.

The Central Bank earlier reported that it had agreed on draft government regulations restricting information on transactions, one of whose parties is a Russian legal entity or individual included in the sanctions lists, including when the companies disclosed information about major transactions and disclosure by issuers of information in accordance with the law on the market valuable papers. It looks rather pointless, Voloshin said: firstly, the counterparties are unlikely to be satisfied with the lack of information about the beneficiary (the rules and standards are their obligation to know them, Know Your Customer / Customer Due Diligence), and secondly, information about The fact that Vekselberg is a shareholder of these banks is available from a variety of sources (lists of affiliated persons, media, archives of web pages, etc.). "Naturally, not a single western counterpart will lose sight of this information," the expert says.

Given that recently no deals were made with the sale of Vekselberg's shares in Metkombank and IFC (as happened, for example, with the sale of part of the package of the businessman in the Swiss engineering concern Sulzer), most likely, it is about the desire of shareholders to exclude "spontaneous risks "From the point of view of using banks for further operations, the partner of Paragon Advice Group, Alexander Zakharov, argues. Prior to this, the relevant measures to restrict access to information about shareholders under sanctions were approved by the regulator, he recalls. At the same time, the bank's counterparties in any case have the right to request information on the composition of the bank's shareholders, and in case of refusal to provide such information they have the right to refuse cooperation. Refusal to provide full information about shareholders may become a reason for suspicion on the part of foreign regulators, the lawyer concluded.