Former Mast-Bank head arrested for 2 months for $105mln embezzlement

Former Mast-Bank head arrested for 2 months for $105mln embezzlement
Yury Pirogov

The police are investigating into the swindling and big embezzlement by Mast-Bank.

Former Mast-Bank head Yury Pirogov was arrested in the framework of a criminal case conserved with an investigation into a 6 billion ruble embezzlement. The investigation is conducted by the Russian Investigative Committee. The top manager had been placed under house arrest in the framework of the case investigated by the police.

The Committee also warranted the arrest of Mast-Bank Vice President Elena Zhuravleva. She had been the Genbank Head. Pirogov was a key figure in Sergey Magin’s ‘cashing out empire’, according to investigators.

The Basmanny District Court (Moscow) ruled in favor of the Committee Main Department and warranted the arrest of Yury Pirogov. He is going to jail for 2 months in the framework of the criminal case initiated for violation of article 160, part 4 (Embezzlement on an Especially Large Scale) of the Russian Criminal Code. 6 billion rubles of Mast-bank investors’ money were withdrawn from the bank illegally, according to the case file. In 2015, the Bank loaned a lot of money to several fly-by-night companies not long before its license was revoked.

Yury Pirogov is also a defendant in a criminal case investigated by the Russian MIA. It was opened for violation of articles 159 and 172 of the Code and is concerned with promissory notes swindling and illegal cash out transaction. The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow placed Pirogov under house arrest last December.

The banker was taken by surprise when taken to the Vodnik pre-trial detention facility No. 5 right from the Basmanny District Court. The Court warranted the arrest of Elena Zhuravleva the same day. She was also sentenced to 2 months in pre-trial detention facility.

Pirogov was the mastermind behind the embezzlement, while Zhuravleva broke articles 33 and 160 (Complicity in a crime and embezzlement) of the Code, according to investigators. None of the defendants pleaded guilty.

May we remind you that the Russian MIA instituted the investigation after the Bank’s license was revoked in mid-2015, as earlier reported by the CrimeRussia. It was due to low quality of the Bank’s assets, failure to perform its obligation to its investors, inaccurate reporting, and suspicious transfer of money abroad, according to the Russian Central Bank. Mast-Bank’s bankruptcy was declared on August 26, 2015. The police discovered the Bank management cashed out 8.8 billion rubles.

Mast-Bank is a link in a big cash out chain, according to investigators. Shadow financier Sergey Manin was the mastermind behind the scheme. Last December, he was given an 8.5-year custodial sentence for 169 billion rubles worth of illegal banking activities.

The scheme Mast-Bank was a part of came to be in October of 2010 and was in place until April of 2015, according to the police. It involved about 70 front companies that had bank accounts in Mast-Bank.

The bank had a 6.5% cut for proving cash out services. The defendants made about 1 billion rubles, as estimated by specialists. Yury Pirogov was placed under house arrest in the framework of the case.

The Committee got interested in swindling and embezzlement by Mast-Bank after the Central Bank asked police for help. Arsenal Bank Loan Department Head Natalia Zhelobaeva and former Mast-Bank Chair of the Board Aleksandr Chemetov were the first suspects.

It is worth mentioning that Chemetov accepted a plea bargain and testified against his colleagues. For example, indictments against Pirogov and Zhuravleva are based on his testimonies.

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