Antalbank founders face new charges over gang creation
According to the investigation, eight other banks were involved in the fraudulent scheme.
Russian Investigative Committee charged the Antalbank founders with Gang Creation (part 3 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code), wrote Kommersant. Earlier, Bank’s president Magomed Mukhiyev and shareholder Mikhail Yanchuk had been accused of a especially large Swindling (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code). According to investigators, the bankers stole about $30m from their depositors.
Mukhiev is now in jail, while Yanchuk is hiding from prosecution. Shortly before the detectives accused the banker of creating a criminal community, they had found a new incident of fraud of a particularly large amount: he had failed to pay for his share in the bank acquired in 2012.
According to the case file, a whole network of banks controlled by the suspect had been involved in the criminal scheme, including Lada-Credit, Doris-Bank, Greenfield Bank, Sodrugestvo Bank, Mezhregionbank, Regional Savings Bank, NST Bank and Bank Maximum (they all lost their licenses between September and November 2015).
Although there are no direct links, the investigators believe that all of the banks acted in the interests of the same persons. The alleged fraudsters had been attracting their depositors with high deposit rates (up to 14% per annum), before transferring their funds to Antalbank using various ways. The money then went off to the accounts belonging to companies the bankers controlled. According to the investigation, the funds were partially withdrawn using a so-called 'Moldovan scheme', when Russian guarantors would repay non-existent debts for Moldovan citizens having overdue payments.
According to preliminary estimates, Antalbank had a hole in the budget of $256.4m at the time when the license was revoked, and about $523m was stolen from the banks altogether. Magomed Mukhiyev was detained at the end of 2015 attempting to leave Vnukovo-3 airport on a private jet he had purchased from Igor Krutoy, a well-known composer. Yanchuk managed to escape, so he had to be arrested in absentia.
Last week, the entire world has celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Internet. In the meantime, the Russian legislators have adopted new laws restricting the development of the Russian-speaking segment of the world wide web. The 'fake news' and 'internet insults' laws adopted under the pretext of protecting the society from manipulations and threat, including external ones, violate the Constitution and some federal laws in relation to the right to search for, obtain, and use information. Furthermore, the bill on ‘sovereign Internet’ passed in the first reading by the State Duma leads us directly to self-isolation.