Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved the renewed investment strategy of Vnesheconombank, a state development corporation that financed the megaprojects of the Kremlin and turned into a 1.4 trillion-ruble hole.
The new memorandum gives VEB the right, for the support of which the government spent almost a trillion rubles over the past 4 years, continue to generate losses for another three years, and withdraw funds abroad.
Although VEB's activities are based on the need to achieve a positive financial result, and breakeven projects are a priority, participation in projects with national importance for the Russian economy is possible, even if the return of funds is not guaranteed, follows from the bank's strategy published on the government website.
Losses are expected "in the medium term," the document says.
VEB, according to the strategy, should focus on the implementation of the May decrees of President Vladimir Putin in the field of health, agriculture, education, communications and telecommunications, the scientific and innovation complex and construction, but simultaneously receives the right to withdraw public funds in foreign jurisdictions.
"The possibility of VEB's participation in investment funds, including abroad, is envisaged," Tass quotes the memorandum of the state corporation. This will require a separate decision of the board, which is headed by former Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
According to Bloomberg, Shuvalov asked VEB, which since the introduction of sanctions annually receives 150 billion rubles from the budget, another trillion rubles or 16 billion dollars for the next five years.
The funds are needed to cover the costs of subsidizing the interest rate for the implementation of infrastructure and other projects that this spring formed the basis of Putin's election program.
VEB also wants the government to guarantee him the repayment of his foreign debt. In the next five years, the state corporation will have to pay $ 9.2 billion in bonds, and the schedule, according to VEB, should be fixed by a separate government document.
"VEB is becoming one of the channels for financing the wishes of the authorities," states Andrei Movchan, director of the Economic Policy program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. "And the losses that arise are covered by taxpayers."
As a result of 2017, VEB received a record loss in its history of 287 billion rubles, which is 18 times higher than last year.
The total cost of defaulted assets of the bank reached 1.4 trillion rubles, of which over 80% accounted for unliquidated loans for Olympic construction projects.
They were financed by cheap loans, which VEB took in the West, using quasi-public status. The sanctions imposed in 2014 interrupted this practice: the bank was cut off from international capital markets and was forced to pay off its debt, which is why it faced a shortage of liquidity and almost declared a default, from which in 2016 he was saved by emergency injections from the "presidential reserve "- frozen pension savings of Russians.