Lukoil employee accused of dollar rate jumps

A Lukoil financier and his partner from the Cyprus company Ronin Europe Ltd turned an insider scheme that led to sharp fluctuations in the dollar exchange rate in December 2015, the Bank of Russia reports.
Origin source
The Bank of Russia has revealed several cases of manipulating the dollar rate on the Moscow Stock Exchange. In them, the employee of the Cyprus investment company Ronin Europe Ltd Kirill Semeshkin and the head of the department of trade and financial operations of the treasury "Lukoil" Alexei Bessonov were involved, according to a press release issued by the Central Bank on May 29. According to the regulator, a number of transactions committed by Semeshkin and Bessonov in December 2015 in the foreign exchange market, led to significant fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate.

As reported to journalists at a briefing on Tuesday, May 29, the head of the department of countering the unfair practices of the Central Bank Valery Lyakh, it was the sharp movement of quotations in the foreign exchange market at the end of 2015 and attracted the attention of the regulator. Abnormal activity was observed on December 18, 28 and 29 on transactions with the dollar-ruble currency pair with today and tomorrow calculations.

"We noticed that there were large aggressive sales of currency from one market participant and large volumes of purchases from another market participant," Taha agency quotes Lyakh.

Scheme with petrodollar

During the audit, it was revealed that during this period, Kirill Semeshkin, acting on behalf of and in the interests of Ronin Europe Ltd, repeatedly performed transactions with foreign exchange instruments using insider information, the release notes. Inside touched on the parameters of instructions for selling the currency proceeds of Lukoil, including the selling price, the amount of foreign currency, as well as the time of the application in the trading system of the Moscow Stock Exchange.

"Insider information was possessed by the head of the department of trade and financial operations of the Treasury" Lukoil "Alexei Bessonov, who gave orders to sell foreign currency to the serving bank, having the opportunity at his discretion to determine the price, the volume of instructions and the order of its execution," - clarifies in its message to the Central Bank .

According to the regulator, the information received from Bessonov allowed Semeshkin to make deals with Lukoil, buying foreign currency at a lower price. In total, the insider from the oil company was used in the bidding seven times.

As a result of the scheme Ronin Europe Ltd received an excess income of at least 146 million rubles, the Bank of Russia estimates. The company "Lukoil", respectively, for the same amount suffered damage. The Central Bank emphasized that it does not yet have information on whether these transactions were initiated on the initiative of Ronin Europe Ltd itself or in the interests of its client.

The implementation of the insider scheme required the sale of large volumes of US dollars on artificially low prices on behalf of Lukoil, which had a significant impact on the quotes of foreign exchange instruments. "Each operation changed its rate by 0.1-0.5% of the current market price," said Valery Lyakh. According to him, because of the manipulation of the dollar, losses could be caused to other bidders and their customers. The regulator has already sent the inspection materials to the law enforcement agencies.

According to Lyakh, after the Central Bank's request for illegal actions, Bessonov no longer works in the foreign exchange market. At the time of publication of the Forbes material, it was not possible to receive comments from Lukoil and Ronin Europe Ltd.

Country of insiders

This is not the first loud case of using insider information in financial markets. In April, the Central Bank caught in the insider a popular trader and investor Elvis Marlamov, who, according to the regulator, used information about the applications of his clients within the service "Autodiscovery" of the company "Finam" to make his own transactions. This allowed Marlamov to earn over 8 million rubles, the regulator claimed.

In November 2017, the Bank of Russia announced the manipulation of MMK securities, which, according to him, involved two employees of the brokerage subsidiary of the metallurgical company. As the regulator clarified, traders Irina Mulyavko and Danil Sheinin from IK "MMK-Finance", which acted as a market maker for the shares of a metallurgist, earned about 89 million rubles using an insider scheme.

October 11, 2017, the Central Bank told about the scheme, organized by the Kazan ex-trader of AK Bars bank Artem Lyulinsky. He was authorized by Ak Bars Finance and in parallel had an account as a physical face from a third-party broker. The trader bought paper at a personal price on a personal account, then he applied for a price 2.4-4% higher, which was satisfied by Ak Bars Finance. Such operations Lyulinsky spent from 2011 to 2016 and earned them about 77 million rubles.

At the end of 2016, the Central Bank reported on the discovery of a similar manipulation scheme developed by the head of the Deutsche Bank shares trading department Yuri Hilov. It operated in 2013-2015. Khilov and his relatives earned 255 million rubles on manipulating the shares.