Strzhalkovskiy — RBC: "I dragged my friends into the Bank of Cyprus, there was that sin"

RBC spoke to the Putin's colleague in KGB, the former general director of Norilsk Nickel and the main representative of Russian interests in the Bank of Cyprus Vladimir Strzhalkovsky about the problems of the bank, one third of which is owned by the Russians 
Origin source
Colleague Vladimir Putin at Leningrad KGB, the former general director of "Norilsk Nickel", received in the care of the company's 2012 record "golden parachute" of $ 100 million, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky over the past one and a half years represented the interests of Russians in the Bank of Cyprus, but on May 29 decided to leave vice-chairman of the Board of Directors.

Compatriots estimated Strzhalkovsky itself belongs to no less than one third of the shares Bank of Cyprus. The Russians became shareholders in spite of himself: during the financial crisis in Cyprus as part of measures to rescue the country's financial system, the Bank absorbed its nearest competitor, Cyprus Popular Bank, and was recapitalized by converting deposits into shares. . Owners of deposits in excess of € 100 thousand insured, Bank of Cyprus only 52.5% returned the money, and the rest 47.5% - shares. As a result, 21 thousand. Bank customers became owners of 81.4% of its shares.

The Russians in 2012 got more than a third of seats in the board of directors, which, in addition Strzhalkovsky, included members of the Board of Directors Binbanka Angelica Anshakova, head of real estate development company Insigma Group Dmitry Chichikashviand Eriskhan Kurazov, representing a tender for the sale of the Moscow hotel "National" interests Mikhail Shishkhanov, former head of the Russian office of Deutsche Bank Lozhevsky Igor Anton Smetanin, who represented the interests of Vitaly Yusufov.

Print Bank of the crisis the new leadership could not, in the past year at the request of the Central Bank of Cyprus for the capital increase within the framework of preparations for the Bank of Cyprus the European stress tests carried out an additional issue of € 1 billion. The largest new shareholder was a group of American investment funds led by billionaire Wilbur Ross, who made his fortune in the troubled assets of American and European banks. As I told RBC Ross, US investors bought almost half of the additional issue.

One of the largest shareholders in the course of additional issue was the "Renova" Viktor Vekselberg, acquiring a 5.45% stake for $ 116.7 million. Equity holdings are more than 5% there is also in the Canadian TD Asset Management Investment Company (5.23%) and the European Bank reconstruction and development (5.02%). The new shareholders have acquired the share in a quarter of that amount for which they formerly receivedie depositors of the bank, while the share of the latter is also blurred by more than 40%.

With the arrival of new shareholders and the board of directors has changed - a new composition was elected in November 2014, which were not included Russians from the former, was re-elected only Strzhalkovskiy. Headed by a new board of directors of one of the most experienced and influential European financiers Josef Ackermann. Prior to this Ackermann 10 years led the Deutsche Bank, and after - Zurich Insurance Group. In 2014, Ackermann came to the attention of law enforcement agencies in August 2013 his subordinate Pierre Wauthier, CFO Zurich Insurance Group, committed suicide in a suicide note accusing Ackermann in the creation of intolerable working conditions. From Zurich Insurance Group Ackermann retired a few days after this, admitting to the family Vauthier "part of their responsibility", although called the charges "baseless", and now to prove his innocence in court.

In the fall of 2013 changed the board and Bank of Cyprus - it was headed by the former head of the investment units of Royal Bank of Scotland, John Huriken. And almost immediately he announced his intention to sell the painlargest part of the foreign assets of the bank, including the Russian "Uniastrum". That has not happened yet, but it is the manager in April said that leaves the post of executive director of the Bank of Cyprus «due to personal reasons."

Strzhalkovskiy that was in the bank during all of these changes, in late May, has decided to leave the board of directors. He left him as their representative and are not going to sell the stake. That is not so with the Bank of Cyprus, he said in an interview with RBC.

Vladimir Strzhalkovsky

Born in 1954 in Leningrad. In 1977 he graduated from the Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute, specialty - engineer-mathematician.

KGB Service

According to the official biography, in the years 1980-1981 Strzhalkovskiy was an employee of the KGB in the Leningrad region. In his own words, at the time he purchased the bonds in the international tourism environment.


In 1991 he founded and headed Strzhalkovskiy travel agency "Neva", which over time dramatically expanded its business. In late 1999, he went to work for the government - first supervised tourist reflectionsl with the rank of Deputy Minister for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism, and then the summer of 2000 became the deputy of German Gref, while the Minister of Economic Development and Trade. In 2004 Strzhalkovskiy headed the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm).

"Norilsk Nickel"

In mid-2008 Strzhalkovskiy decree of Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister was dismissed as head of the Federal Tourism Agency and on the same day took the post of general director of MMC "Norilsk Nickel". His appointment took place against the background of the conflict of shareholders, "Norilsk Nickel" Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov and Oleg Deripaska (who by that time Prokhorov sold a blocking stake of the Civil Code). The conflict was resolved by reconciliation of the parties in 2012, then he left Strzhalkovskiy "Norilsk Nickel", received a record $ 100 million in compensation.

Bank of Cyprus

In the fall of 2013 Bank of Cyprus in Cyprus in the framework of measures to rescue the country's financial system has been recapitalized by converting uninsured deposits into shares. Thus, investors unwittingly were shareholders of the bank, and the largestof them took part in the election of its leadership. Among them was Strzhalkovskiy, which eventually became the deputy chairman of the board of directors. In this position he remained until the end of May 2015.

"There was such a sin"

- At the end of May you have sold 0.7% of its stake in Bank of Cyprus structures of Viktor Vekselberg and left the board of directors. You can say that you are away from the bank?

- Sale of shares in no way connected with the release of the Bank of Cyprus, it was the old agreement with Vekselberg, the transaction amount is insignificant, and therefore I would not even pay attention to it. In general we can say that I have resigned from the Board of Directors, but not from the bank: my family stayed shareholder [in accordance with the annual accounts of Bank of Cyprus in 2014, Strzhalkovsky share before the transaction was 2.5%], and while we're not going to get rid of shares. I'm leaving the board of directors, but in his doizbiraetsya Alexei Ivanov, who worked with me in recent years as an assistant, he was deeply immersed in the bank's problem.

- You did not think investing in a bank mistake?

- Let's start with the fact that the originalfor these were not investments. I had a deposit, which I did not ask to be converted into shares. What a mistake it is? You also keep money in banks.

- But before that happened, it was clear that the Cyprus banking system that something is wrong.

- Still got a lot of people, so not all was clear in this situation. Cyprus was a convenient jurisdiction, many of my friends and partners kept their money there, created the company. Of course, right tell me one person that the money should be kept in a three-liter jar, and, as I understand, the majority of banks operating on the verge of a foul, but many - and beyond, so that now I our banking system do not seem so bad.

- And your participation in the issue?

- I increased its share because he was convinced that with the arrival of new shareholders, directors and management of the new council will improve the situation. The Bank is now trading very cheap, and I expect that sooner or later the situation will begin to improve. I not only personally involved in the issue, but also recommended many friends to take part in it, there is such a sin inShe lectures in the same Vekselberg.

- You and he are discussing investment bank after the additional issue?

- No, we often meet, but talking on other topics. So far, none of my friends said nothing, though, of course, I'm uncomfortable, internally uncomfortable that I advised many enter the bank's capital and capitalization falls. It turned out not the best investment, the stock has since fallen, but I still hope that they will grow back at least to the entry level, the situation will recover, and for me this is not a short investment time horizon for him - three years. Meanwhile, poor performance is reflected in their price.

- Management?

- But what if there is no result, of course, blame the bank's management in general - and the board of directors and management. I realized that, in spite of all the efforts made by me, I can not fix this job, so I decided that it is more logical to withdraw from the cases.

"Everyone was talking about his many - at the same time"

- You were the only Russian citizen from the old composition of the board of directors who was re-elected after the additional issueand. Why six months later you decide to get out of it?

- In November, I agreed to the re-election because he was expecting that the new board will work more strategically, more globally. I'm not interested to solve small technical and tactical issues, which overwhelmed advice. Unfortunately, to solve large, really important issues the bank never came, despite the fact that I repeatedly spoke, insisted and stressed the importance of creating the strategy, determine in which direction to grow, what direction needs to be closed for investment, which - open, where it is possible to make progress, etc.

- Up to 5 additional issue of the 15-member board of directors representing the Russian shareholders affected by the conversion of deposits into shares. Can we say that they could not defend the interests of: during the additional issue the share of the previous shareholders were eroded by 40% and new shareholders receive a quarter share of the cost?

- An additional issue could not be avoided, otherwise the bank would sooner or later come back to the "haircut" of deposits. The situation with the Bank of Cyprus was not a problem asabout because of the crisis, but because of mismanagement: the strange purchases, such as the same "Uniastrum" or Romanian assets, issuing loans without adequate security. When the bank was faced with the new requirements of the European Central Bank, it was necessary to pass the stress tests, other way, you might say, it was not.

- With regard to the previous Council - he was simply unable to manage the bank, was formed is not clear as it was unclear who represents whom and on what basis, the situation was quite wild. Elected by the Board within a week, the logic is not necessary to look for it, because she was not there. And this advice is initially seen as a temporary phenomenon. I sat for a long time at the meetings of the open-mouthed: going to the people who are far from the finance, management processes, each trying to talk about something else, and half a time. Absolutely it was not clear who is who. You could say, in fact, I only represent their interests and those of their friends, who have been forced to depositors.

- Can you tell me about some friends talking about?
- No, of course, if they do not want to disclose this information.

- And somehow estimate the share of Russian shareholders in the bank?

- Everyone understands that among the fallen under the "haircut" of investors had a lot of Russians, but the exact number nobody knows - many were present through offshore companies. According to my estimates, the Russians belong to accurately more than a third, but less than half of the shares.

- What has changed in the board of directors with the arrival of new shareholders?

- The new board of directors more professional, compact - decreased from 15 to 10 members. Still, only four of them actually are shareholders of the bank - I Maksim Goldman from Vekselberg, Wilbur Ross, [according to the annual reporting directly owns 1.56% of shares] and the representative of the EBRD, which is now instead of me actually took the key post of chairman of the Committee on risks.

- According to press reports, at Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Council of the serious problems related to his stay at the head of the Zurich Insurance Group post. Does it affect his work in the Bank of Cyprus?
- I was hoping that the appointment of Ackermann will positively influence the situation in the bank, but, really, Ackermann problems with the courts in Germany. And it would probably be better if these problems we have learned in advance, prior to his appointment.

- And what about Wilbur Ross? He also has experience of successful work with problem banks. Perhaps, in the case of Bank of Cyprus have some vision.

- I would like to make this vision was somehow transferred to others and implemented in practice. Yes, Ross attentive to put to the board of directors issues. He does not like a lot, as I do. But as long as the board is filled up with huge folders with small current issues, and there is no question of strategy.

"People running around with bags of money and looking for someone to give"

- If the board of directors have to work on current issues, then what is involved in management?

- Again, the capitalization of the bank is reduced without decreasing the problematic debts, indicating poor performance management. Now there is an active search for a CEO whowill stand at the head of the bank in August. I hope the new leaders will be more responsible for managing the bank will at all times be in Cyprus, rather than 50% of the time, finally competently take on debt restructuring or seizure of collateral, when the restructuring is not possible, etc.

- You have mentioned several times the bad debt. These are some loans to related parties, or something else?

- Cyprus - the country is very small, it is difficult to speak of untied credits, anyway everyone knows each other. But seriously, what is more important is not connectivity side, and the lack of collateral. Former team betrayed or large unsecured loans or secured loans, which absolutely did not match the cost of the loan. The old part of the Central Bank of Cyprus allowed to do so. It seems that people are running around with bags of money and looking for someone else to give them, absolutely not thinking about how they will return these loans, some borrowers have seriously believed that the money they almost gave. Let's say conditionally, for the construction of a golf course under the sALOGIA agricultural field, where there were potatoes and tangerines and the maximum value of which amounted to € 5 million, was given a loan of € 100 million. And the money given is not in the form of lines of credit and non-recurring payments, and, in my opinion, it was possible to predict that they will not return.

- And now the bank is working with these loans?

- Not very successful, many debtors do not pay not only the body but also the interest. Among them there are those who have no opportunity really to service the loans - for example, built a theater in which now no one walks, etc. But there are borrowers who can pay but do not want to do that. With respect to such borrowers I support more decisive action, in my opinion, it should be very hard to take something that belongs to the bank. Fortunately, recently released a new law, which should simplify the seizure of collateral, up to this procedure could take decades. Yes, and the Central Bank of Cyprus also takes the position that the bank should be stricter with regard to debtors who do not pay.

- And then there are deposits that are potensocially can be removed?

- Yes, it's assets for € 800 million - € 1 billion, with the information that they contain, has been provided to the board last week, although the requirement to make a list of them was charged in the early days of my work in the bank.

- And what's there?

- A lot of residential real estate in Greece and Cyprus, shops, hotels, and some so-leased, which does not receive rent bank in slow mode is judged. Part of the assets it is not clear how to implement.

- What do you have in mind?

- Here is an example. We are all the time, Western countries are taught how to live, how to work, talk about corporate governance, transparency, etc., and then the European public company carries out large non-public transactions. Several months ago, the bank sold one of the most attractive of its assets - a complex Aphrodite Hills, which includes hotels, residential homes, golf course. Trades were closed. For example, the interest in the asset showed "Academservice" with its partners, is the largest Russian company. We Goldman signed pisOh, it's a normal buyer, it is necessary to hold a public procedure, bids. But we peregolosovat, held a non-public transaction, cast away all other buyers. There are other stories that are hard to find an explanation. For example, the bank sells hotel in Romania. I demand an explanation why there is no information about this on the website of the bank, I respond that the ad published in Romanian newspapers. But it is an axiom that the bank's website should be such information. And who reads in Romanian? Why limit the acquisition sector only Romania? What is this, a misunderstanding? This is the sale of "Uniastrum" write the same in all languages, publish everywhere.

- Speaking of "Uniastrum», Bank of Cyprus for a long time unsuccessfully trying to get rid of the shares in the Russian "daughter". What is the problem?

- Shopping like this, of course, crippled bank worse than bad loans, and in fact led to bankruptcy. The situation with the "Uniastrum" purchase was unique: the most brilliant people converged on the one hand, and the most stupid - on the other. Moreover, they paid dearly - the bank was rated by multiple3.1 capital, so more and left 20% of the founders of "Uniastrum", which after the transaction took all the decisions. The majority shareholder in no way ruled the bank could not re-elect any guidance or influence decisions that can hardly be called successful. As a result, today the sale is difficult, a deal can not be closed more than a year. Even it is not clear why, for the sale of Russian "daughter" of Russian as a potential investor have hired an English "daughter" of the German Deutsshe bank. Now their delegation is flying to Moscow, then to Cyprus, it is once again the question of the efficiency of management.

- But the talks still go? What conditions? Are you ready to pay the bank for capital or want money?

- This is confidential information, but the transaction currency, the share of free giving, we will not, even though the amount of the incomparable, of course, with the size of the original purchase. Serious negotiations we were only one company and related bank. Other potential buyers were interested in the shares of "Uniastrum" more out of curiosity.

- And it's not the former shareholders of the bank? They neodnokraspot said they wanted to buy out the Bank of Cyprus?

- No, they are never serious proposals have been received in writing. There were some oral statements of intent, but nothing on paper never was fixed.

- Yet how quickly the bank wants to get rid of the shares in the Russian "daughter"?

- I would like to close the deal in December last year. And what happens is unclear.