New suspects appear in Tatfondbank embezzlement case, including owners of major gambling business

New suspects appear in Tatfondbank embezzlement case, including owners of major gambling business
Ramil Nasyrov

Ramil Nasyrov, the First Deputy Chairman of the Board in Tatfondbank, is among the suspects.

Operatives of the Main Investigations Directorate in the Republic of Tatarstan of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) have detained new suspects in the framework of the criminal case pertaining to the embezzlement of 3 billion rubles ($51.9 million) from Tatfondbank: Ramil Nasyrov, the ex-First Deputy Chairman of the Board in Tatfondbank, and Elena Leushina, the Director of Royal Time Group Limited Liability Company. They have been charged under part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Swindling on an especially large scale); the ICR hasn’t specified yet the role of the detainees in the criminal case.

According to the investigation, in August 2016, Tatfondbank officers submitted to the Central Bank of Russia false information about a high-yielding asset in order to secure a loan. The funds received had been distributed between companies controlled by Tatfondbank.

Robert Musin, the Chairman of the Board in Tatfondbank, has become the first suspect in the 3-billion larceny case. He was detained on March 3, 2017 on swindling charges and remanded in custody. At that time, Nasyrov had testified that he was not aware of the assignment of the bank’s creditor’s and interest collection rights to external organizations. According to Realnoe Vremya (Real Time) Internet portal, immediately after the questioning, Nasyrov has jetted off abroad, but two days later he was summoned to the ICR again. After the second questioning, the banker has become a suspect and was detained.

Ramil Nasyrov has been the First Deputy Chairman of the Board in Tatfondbank since December 2015. In addition, he participated in the management of three other banks subsidiary to TFB Group: he was a council member in Radiotekhbank Nizhny Novgorod Commercial Bank Open Joints Stock Company since May 2015, member of the Board of Directors in Timer Bank Public Joint Stock Company since June 2015, and Chairman of the Board of Directors in Tatagroprombank Limited Liability Company since April 2016.

Another suspect is Ramil Safin mentioned in the case file as the General Director of Novaya Neftekhimiya (New Petrochemistry) Limited Liability Company. However, according to SPARK-Interfax, Airat Tumakaev has replaced him at that post in February 2017. Up until 2015, he was the head of Royal Time Limited Liability Company subsidiary to Royal Time Group Limited Liability Company. Elena Leushina, another suspect in this criminal case, is the Director of Royal Time Group. According to the corporate web site, “the structure of Royal Time Group LLC includes the companies, leading in the gambling, entertainment and construction business of Russia”.

Tatfondbank used to be among the top 50 Russian banks by the size of its assets. The issues begun in December 2016, when a ‘hole’ – estimated by the Central Bank of Russia at 97 billion rubles ($1.67 billion) – was discovered in its capital. According to the Bank of Russia, this was a result of the policy pursued by Tatfondbank owners who were investing bank funds into their own projects – loans to the owners’ businesses had constituted 65% of the bank credit portfolio. On March 3, the Bank of Russia has revoked the licenses of Tatfondbank and its partner IntekhBank. The following people have been detained in the framework of the criminal case: Sergei Meshanov and Vadim Merzlyakov, the Deputy Chairmen of the Board of Tatfondbank; Timur Valshin, the Head of TFB Finance; and his subordinates Rustam Timerbaev and Ilnar Abdulmanov.

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