Russian businessman Ruben Vardanyan responded to the accusations against the investment bank Troika Dialog, which he owned until 2011. Journalists from the Corruption and Organized Crime Investigation Project (OCCRP) claim that Troika created a network of offshore companies through which money was transferred to the “most influential people of Russia”, including Vladimir Putin’s friend cellist Sergei Roldugin. His open letter was published on Thursday, March 7, on the site of the Armenian IDeA Foundation (Vardanyan is its co-founder).
Vardanyan noted that the charges published in the media “mixed everything: information taken out of context, interpretations and fiction are round and green”. He noted that most publications say that there are no charges against him. Nevertheless, as a senior partner of Troika Dialog, he feels responsible for everything that happens.
He asked not to forget about the times that Russia was experiencing, not to evaluate the activities of Troika Dialog outside the historical, economic and business context and “not to measure it by today's standards”. Then, in the early 1990s, there was no investment banking industry in the country, but Troika Dialog did not agree to live according to the “jungle laws” and tried to do everything possible to create a civilized environment in Russia with clear rules of the game. Vardanyan stressed that Troika has always done everything to act in full compliance with the principles of legality and transparency.
The businessman said that lawyers are studying all possible legal actions to protect the reputation of Troika Dialog. He expressed his gratitude to everyone who believes in him, in his team and in what they do. “Nothing will stop me in the implementation of our projects,” he stressed.
On March 4, OCCRP journalists, whose Russian counterpart in the investigation was Meduza, in the article “The Troika Laundromat” reported that the private investment bank of Ruben Vardanyan and his partners Troika Dialog (in 2011 it was sold to Sberbank) created a network of the dozens of companies through which, from 2006 to early 2013, $ 4.6 billion passed
The key element in the scheme, which could be used for money laundering, is the now-defunct Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas (owned by businessman Vladimir Romanov, was deprived of a license in 2013), in which, according to an investigation, several dozens of accounts of companies participating in offshore ecosystems "" Troika ". Employees of OCCRP and the Lithuanian edition of 15min.lt studied the data on bank transactions of companies that had accounts with Ukio Bank, and found out that at least 30 companies connected with Troika were serviced there.
OCCRP concluded that Troika Dialog created an “ecosystem” of at least 76 interconnected offshore companies that functioned in 2006-2013. Offshore companies managed by Troika Dialog "received millions of dollars, in particular, from companies that took money out of the country using criminal schemes." Among the final recipients of OCCRP funds were found several top managers of companies with state participation, relatives and friends of high-ranking Russian officials. Among them is the name of the cellist and Vladimir Putin’s friend Sergei Roldugin. The companies associated with it allegedly received in 2010-2013 $ 69 million from the Troika offshore system.
Immediately after publication, Vardanyan himself did not deny that Troika Dialog used foreign companies for business. But since the turnover of the Troika Dialog Group exceeded 2 trillion rubles, he could not know about all transactions across the company.
On March 5, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that assessing the credibility of publishing a journalistic project is “not a matter of our agenda.” He stressed that in Russia there are relevant fiscal departments, there is financial intelligence, which have all the necessary powers to evaluate such publications for credibility or inaccuracy.
Sberbank noted that the facts stated in the article did not have and have nothing to do with it. “The said operations were made from the accounts of companies that had never entered the perimeter of the transaction for Sberbank to buy Troika Dialog. Structures of Sberbank did not participate in the operations, ”- said in the commentary of the press service of Sberbank on the publication of OCCRP.
The Troika Dialog investment company was established in 1991. In 2011, Sberbank announced the purchase of Troika for $ 1 billion.