Two billion squandered in two weeks

Vice president of the bankrupt First Czech-Russian Bank has been arrestes. 
As Kommersant found out, the Basmanny District Court yesterday sanctioned the arrest of former vice-president of the bankrupt of the First Czech-Russian Bank (FCRB) Dmitry Merkulov. He is accused of stealing more than 2 billion rubles. the credit institution's assets, which had its license revoked last summer. FCRB gained fame after disbursement of the French far-right party "National Front" Marine Le Pen and through linkages with the Central Bank of Iran. Mr. Merkulov maintains his innocence, claiming that alleged against him preparing to deal without him, and he had time to work in the post for only two weeks. The investigation, in turn, check it for any involvement in the theft of even a single bank - "Taurus".

The criminal case of embezzlement on a large scale (para. 4, Art. 160 of the Criminal Code) was opened in FCRB GUS TFR December 1 last year, after the appeal of the Central Bank and representatives from DIA to law enforcement. According to some reports, according to the checks carried out operatives of the FSB, whose materials and served as a basis for criminal prosecution. Dmitry Merkulov learned that he was a suspect in the case, a few days ago. January 17, he was summoned for questioning by the building of the central office of the TFR in the Technical alley. There banker charged under Art. 160 of the Criminal Code.

According to preliminary information, the blame Mr. Merkulov put the signing of two contracts for the sale of assets FCRB - ​​businesses and real estate. In the first of them the bank was to receive for closing the hole in its assets 75 million rubles, and the second -. About 400 million rubles. them money and not received that DIA and the Central Bank considered the withdrawal of these assets, which in total were evaluated by more than 2 billion rubles.

It should be noted that the transactions were concluded in the last days before the dismissal of management of the credit institution to perform duties and the introduction of 24 March last year FCRB interim administration. So, one of the contracts was signed the day before that date.

Allegedly, he Dmitry Merkulov in a conversation with the investigator expressed his willingness to cooperate with the TFR and clarification. It turned out that he had to work FCRB vice president only two weeks - from March 9, 2016. At one time he, an economist by training, he held various positions in the bank, "Taurus", rising up as vice president. After the April 2015 "Taurus" has lost the license, Mr. Merkulov been looking for a job, until he took FCRB.

He could hardly have two weeks of work in the bank to get into all problems of the institution, where, by the way, then there was a screening of the Central Bank Commission. Therefore, according to the already close to the former banker people, he had no special concerns put his signature to the transactions which were prepared before and had to pass through the coordination of lawyers, economists and security service FCRB. According to some information, the transparency of contracts to the new Vice-President was confirmed by the then leaders of the bank - beneficiary and predpravleniya Roman Popov and deputy Olga Arsenteva. At the same time, according to preliminary data, it is a no claim no investigators, but in addition to Mr. Merkulov in a criminal case are some "unidentified persons consequence."

After the detention of ex-banker spent almost two days in the detention center at Petrovka, 38, better known as the "inner prison", from where he was taken on Thursday at the Basmanny district court. There's Judge Arthur Karpov considered the petition of the investigator Vitaly Nikitchenko on the election to the accused preventive measure in the form of detention.

This is based on the severity of the charges, as well as reports and help the FSB, which indicated that Mr. Merkulov supposedly studied the possibility of escaping abroad.

Protection ex-banker, in turn, the standard proposes to limit bail or house arrest, but Karpov judge sent him to prison for two months.

Dmitry Merkulov lawyers were yesterday unavailable for comment, but sources close to the investigation, explained that the former vice president FCRB says that maybe he just did not understand the details of transactions, considered them "clean" and quite legal, and the preliminary estimates TFR on the amount of damage is clearly too high and need to be clarified in the framework of the financial and economic expertise. By the way, according to the DIA, December 1 last year, the total debt to creditors FCRB is more than 25 billion rubles.

In addition, according to sources, "b", close to the investigation, questions arose for Mr. Merkulov and about his previous work in the bank "Taurus". As it turned out, on the fact of embezzlement of funds from this credit institution as a criminal case. According to the DIA in November last year, the bank debt to customers is 2.4 billion rubles.

In contrast to the "Taurus" FCRB was quite well-known bank with an interesting history. It was created in 1996 on the initiative of the Czech government. Recently, he was mentioned in the media as an institution, which provided in 2014 a loan of € 9 million of French far-right party "National Front" Marine Le Pen. Later, the French supposedly FCRB asked about another loan already at € 27 million. In addition, a number of experts called FCRB the bank, which housed some assets of the Central Bank of Iran. That is why experts have repeatedly said that even after the assets of the Central Bank FCRB found a huge "hole", it is unlikely to threaten revocation of licenses, and all will end readjustment of the credit institution. However, this did not happen. Moreover, the Czech Republic lost a bank license with the same name, which also served as a leader Roman Popov.

It is also interesting that the head of the investigative team TFR in the case of embezzlement of Vitaliy Nikitchenko itself a "media" person. At one time it was referred to as the investigator, initially refused to open a criminal case against the director of the Federal Penitentiary Service Alexander Reimer, when it received allegations of attempted rape his own secretary, as well as illegal "tapping" a number of his subordinates. Later Mr. Nikitchenko participated in the investigation of high-profile criminal cases related to the oil company Yukos and notorious Cherkizovsky market in Moscow.