16 defendants in case of 42-million-dollar withdrawal from Probusinessbank

16 defendants in case of 42-million-dollar withdrawal from Probusinessbank
Sergey Leontiev, former president of Probusinessbank

The criminals would spend the embezzled funds on the purchase of foreign real estate.⁠

The number of defendants in the case of 2.5-billion-ruble (42-million-dollar) embezzlement from Probusinessbank has increased, Life reports. It was earlier reported about 10 suspects, and now there are 16 of them. The new defendants in the case of withdrawal of funds are former leaders of the Life financial group and relatives of bankers.

In particular, one of them is Vadim Kolotnikov. In 2005, he was head of the strategic development of Probusinessbank, while in 2008, he headed Natsionalny Bank Sberezheniy (National Savings Bank), which is part of the Life financial group. Former Probusinessbank’s Vice President for Investments Maksim Afanasyev is also a defendant in the case. He used to hold the post of general director of the company Life Investments. According to investigators, Kolotnikov and Afanasyev are active accomplices in the crime. The names of other accused have not been revealed, but it is known that the relatives of swindling bankers were their accomplices. Family members of the bank’s top managers would set up many subsidiaries in different countries and withdraw the money there.

Let us recall that former President of Probusinessbank Sergey Leontiev, Chairman of Probusinessbank’s Board of Directors Alexander Zheleznyak, and Vice President Alexander Lomov are the main defendants of the high-profile case. All of them had gone into hiding last year, so they were arrested in absentia and declared internationally wanted. According to Life, Zheleznyak and Leontiev are hiding in the US. Russian law enforcement bodies are to seek extradition of the suspects.

Other persons involved in the case are in custody or under house arrest. In particular, Vice President of a credit institution Vyacheslav Kazantsev, Head of Corporate Finance Department Nikolay Alekseev, and seven accomplices.

The ICR Main Investigations Directorate accuses them of Organization of Embezzlement and complicity in it (part 3 and 5 of Art. 33, part 4 of Art. 160 of the Russian Criminal Code). In early February 2017, Kommersant reported that the ICR had completed investigating the case. According to the investigation, from September 2014 to July 2015, members of the criminal group embezzled 2.5 billion rubles from Probusinessbank through granting of deliberately unrecoverable loans to fly-by-night companies. For this, the bank management used both its direct subordinates (including Head of the Department for Ensuring Interaction with Shareholders and Subsidiaries Maria Krylova), and employees of the subsidiary Life financial group and general directors of the dummy Alyans LLC, Tsentr Torgovli, Engineering-Royalty, as well as a number of other commercial structures. The organizations provided false information to Probusinessbank, and the bank granted them multimillion-ruble credits, after which the money was transferred to the accounts of companies controlled by the bank management under the guise of payment for various services or the purchase of knowingly illiquid securities. Following this, the rubles were converted into dollars and withdrawn to offshore. According to Life, later some of the criminals bought themselves property abroad using this money.

As for the bank’s assets, on March 10, the Deposit Insurance Agency announced the interim results of Probusinessbank property inventory. The total amount of the bank’s ‘shortage’ amounted to 69.8 billion rubles (1.195 billion dollars). However, the final figure is still unknown, as the inventory of the bank's assets continues. Let us recall that the Central Bank revoked the license from Probusinessbank in August 2015. Back then, the Cetrnal Bank of Russia estimated the discrepancy between the credit organization’s assets and liabilities at 40 billion rubles (685 million dollars).

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