New criminal case against Robert Musin: How assets were siphoned off from ‘collapsed’ Tatfondbank?
The amount of funds siphoned off from the collapsed Tatfondbank is still unknown. New scams involving Robert Musin, the Chairman of the Board of Tatfondbank and Deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan, have been uncovered.
The Regional Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) has revealed new details of fraud schemes used by Musin and his alleged accomplices. This refers to the siphoning off assets worth 1.4 billion rubles ($24.5 million). In December 2016, Musin and several other Tatfondbank officers (their identification is ongoing) have understood that the bank is facing license revocation and started hastily pulling financial machinations. They have illegally withdrawn a portion of pledged assets of TDK-AKTIV Limited Liability Company that had seven loan agreements with the bank. As a result, the credits became unsecured, and now the creditors can not recover their money by selling the loan securities.
Because of the offences committed by Musin and his associates, Tatfondbank became insolvent and unable to repay over 1 billion rubles ($17.5 million) to its creditors and the Bank of Russia.
Tatfondbank clients demand their money back
Other assets worth 847 million rubles ($14.8 million) were siphoned off earlier using the same scheme. According to the investigation, the Chairman of the Board of Tatfondbank and his associates have illegally withdrawn assets of Urman Limited Liability Company pledged as a security under four loan agreements. Termination agreements had been signed for the security and pledge agreements and delivery acceptance acts for the assets. InterStar Limited Liability Company was involved into this scam. The ICR has noted that the assets were hastily withdrawn shortly before the Tatfondbank license revocation.
To refresh background: the Investigations Directorate in the Republic of Tatarstan of the ICR had earlier instituted a criminal case against Robert Musin, Chairman of the Board of Tatfondbank Public Joint Stock Company and Deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan, under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling committed on an especially large scale). According to the investigation, in August 2016, managers of Tatfondbank have provided to the Bank of Russia false information about a readily marketable asset secured by credit agreements with other joint stock companies in order to take up a loan and embezzle the funds. The borrowed funds in the amount over 3 billion rubles ($52.6 million) have been transferred to organizations affiliated with Musin. Later the funds have been cashed out and stolen.
Upon discovery of the new evidence, another criminal case has been initiated against Musin under part 2 of Article 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Abuse of Authority, which has involved grave consequences).
In the meantime, the President of Tatarstan has reported the situation in the banking sphere of the republic to Vladimir Putin. He has informed the President that a special fund shall be established in the republic to support clients of the banks deprived of their licenses. Rustam Minnikhanov intends to pay off the clients unable to recover their money through the sale of banks’ assets. The following banks lost their licenses this spring in Tatarstan: Tatfondbank, Intekhbank, Tatagroprombank (jointly with the Center of Islamic Banking), and Ankor Bank. In the end of 2016, the Bank of Russia had revoked the license of Kamsky Gorizont (Kama Horizon) Bank based in Naberezhnye Chelny. Bulgar Bank has also been shut down; its head office is located in Yaroslavl, but it was founded in Tatarstan.
While Minnikhanov was reporting to Putin the steps to support hoodwinked bank clients and co-investors, mass job cuts have started in the banks of Tatarstan due to the revocation of their licenses. According to the official information of the Ministry of Labor and Employment of Tatarstan, 2036 bank clerks are to be terminated.
To refresh background: Tatfondbank started experiencing difficulties in December 2016, and the Deposit Insurance Agency has been appointed the interim administration. The clients had addressed the law enforcement structures after the refusal of the bank to pay out their deposits. It turned out that many of them had become clients whose deposits are not covered by the insurance. Tatfondbank managers had persuaded them to transfer their savings to TFB Finance product. The point is that after an audit in Tatfondbank that had found breaches, the Bank of Russia has prohibited it from attracting funds from personal accounts. So, Musin and his group have invented a new banking product – TFB Finance – and Tatfondbank managers started actively persuading the clients to transfer their money into its trust management promising higher interest rates and not informing about associated risks.
Ultimately, the bank’s license was revoked and the following top managers arrested: Sergei Meshanov, the ex-Deputy Chairman of the Board of Tatfondbank, Vadim Merzlyakov, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Tatfondbank, and Timur Valshin, the Head of TFB Finance. The hoodwinked clients had stormed the Government House in Kazan demanding to dismiss Prime Minister Ildar Khalikov who was supervising Tatfondbank. The clients believe that Khalikov could not be unaware of financial machinations committed by Musin and his associates and might be involved into the scams himself. The Prime Minister has resigned a month after the incident, but no criminal case was initiated against him.