Pensions have diverged to private funds

The Investigative Committee believes that this was a fraud.
As it became known to Kommersant, the Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) instituted criminal proceedings on the fact of attempted fraud. The investigation suspects that in 2017-2018, attackers transferred the pension savings of 500 thousand Russians without their knowledge from the Pension Fund of Russia (PFR) to the private VTB Pension Fund, NPF Soglasie, Sotsium and Gazfond PN. The estimated damage could amount to billions of rubles.

Criminal case under Art. 30 and h. 4 Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (attempted fraud on a large scale) initiated the management of the Investigative Committee for the Central District of Moscow. According to investigators, in 2017–2018, yet unidentified individuals could fake more than half a million statements by Russians, according to which they allegedly agreed to transfer their pension savings from the PFR to several large non-state pension funds (NPFs). In particular, we are talking about VTB Pension Fund, NPF Soglasie, Sotsium, Gazfond PN.

According to Kommersant’s information, agents who provided NPF services were suspected of fraud.

Moreover, all documents were endorsed by notaries. However, the investigation has already found out that their signatures and seals were fake. So far, a criminal case has been instituted on the fact of fraud, and there are no defendants in it - now the Investigative Committee is trying to establish the organizers and executors of the scam.

As Kommersant had already told, in mid-2017, the FIU first suspended (see Kommersant on June 28, 2017), and then canceled the possibility of submitting an application through certification centers - the most massive channel for submitting documents for transferring pension savings between insurers (they may be NPF or PFR) since 2014, with which the Accounts Chamber associated risks of falsification of documents. As a result, there were only a few remote channels for submitting applications for the transfer of pension savings: electronic - through the Unified Portal of Public Services (EPGU) and the personal account of the insured person on the PFR website, as well as “paper” - sending a statement certified by a notary to the Pension Fund of Russia.

As a result, as Kommersant’s sources said earlier, amid technical problems with filing applications via a remote electronic channel in the same 2018, “the market returned in 2014”, that is, notarized documents began to be handed over in “paper”. This was done remotely: until September last year, such statements were handed over via courier, and in the last months of the year by mail. As a result, 1.5 million applications were submitted through these two “paper” remote channels (78.2% of all documents received by the FIU), while 262.1 thousand (13.4%) were submitted through EPPU and LKZL. At the same time, the “absolute majority” of “paper” statements from all over the country were for some reason sent by couriers and mail to offices in Moscow and the Moscow Region, which the NPFs themselves could not explain.
PFR Board Anton Drozdov in an interview with Kommersant (see Kommersant on August 12) admitted that during the last year’s transitional campaign, the violations “usually” occurred when submitting applications by mail or courier, noting that the PFR revealed data on the certification by several notaries of thousands of applications were sent to the “relevant authorities”.

As part of last year’s transitional campaign, the largest number of citizens were attracted by VTB Pension Fund (563.2 thousand people), NPF Soglasie (358.2 thousand), and Gazfond Pension Accumulations (280) , 4 thousand).

In the NPF Sotsium, Kommersant stated that, according to the law, the fund was “not included in the application process” by citizens and that SKR employees “did not contact” it. “Sotsium” “does not have any information to answer the question” about a large number of statements certified by the same notaries, a representative of the NPF noted. The VTB press service said that VTB Pension Fund works strictly within the framework of the law. They did not know about the criminal case, since the investigation did not apply to the fund. In the remaining funds, Kommersant could not promptly receive comments or abstained from them.

At the same time, there is no unambiguous interpretation of whether the ownership of pension savings changes when transferring them from the Pension Fund to NPFs: no, according to one law, all funds in the OPS system are federal property, and according to another, when transferring to a private fund, pension savings become the property of NPFs (see. Kommersant of August 13).

Note that the NPF "Consent" appears in yet another similar investigation, which is conducted by the investigative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A number of persons associated with the activities of this fund are accused of illegally transferring pension savings funds to this NPF. The investigation considers this as the theft of more than 11 billion rubles. budget funds from the FIU. However, the defense of the defendants in the criminal case believes that the transfer of pension savings from one insurer to another does not affect the type of ownership of them. “These funds are the property of the state, and disposing of them at their discretion is impossible,” the lawyers say.

Central Bank agrees to “freeze” transitions

The Bank of Russia will “insist on freezing early transitions” between insurers (they are NPFs and PFR), Central Bank Deputy Chairman Vladimir Chistyukhin said at the Moscow Financial Forum. “We see that stabilization in the transition market, despite legislative amendments that have been made (entered into force on this year. -“ Kommersant ”), has not happened to the end,” he said. According to him, this mechanism will protect the insured from loss of investment income. “We need to do it quickly, in the fall. Other mechanisms that we discussed will require changes in several laws ... And this may drag on for another year, ”the Bank of Russia top manager explained. “So far, preliminary (the new norm will come into force. -“ Kommersant ”) for three years from the date of adoption of the law,” said Deputy Minister of Finance Alexey Moiseev, explaining his intention to introduce a moratorium, in particular, “fraud” in transferring funds clients (quote from “ Interfax "). According to a Kommersant source close to discussing the “freezing” of early transitions, its longer term is also being discussed. Thus, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance, in fact, took the position of a pension lobbyist, the NPF Association (ANPF), which proposed the introduction of a similar norm at the beginning of the year and also justified it with “massive cases of abuse of citizens' trust in early transitions” and “significant loss of investment income” insured persons. Their colleagues from a rival lobbyist, the National Association of NPFs (NAPF), explained the proposal by the ANPF to outflows of clients from the funds of this association against the background of losses suffered by them to customers (see Kommersant, April 12).