“Shadow banker No. 1” detained in case of $51.6m embezzlement from Promsberbank
Ivan Myazin used to control dozens of Russian banks and was a defendant in the case of a murder of First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Andrey Kozlov.
FSB operatives have detained one of Russia’s largest ‘shadow’ bankers, Ivan Myazin, Rosbalt reports citing a source in law enforcement bodies. He has been placed in custody by a court decision.
It is reported that Myazin, who used to control dozens of Russian financial institutions, has been arrested in the case of embezzlement of 3.2 billion rubles ($51.6 million) from Promsberbank.
According to Rosbalt, a number of investigative activities has been carried out in respect of Myazin (as a witness) over the past month. This includes a face-to-face confrontation with ex-Chairman of Promsberbank’s board Boris Fomin, detained in August 2017 after two years of being wanted, and former principal shareholder of the credit institution Aleksey Kulikov, who was sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment in October last year.
According to the investigation, shareholders of Promsberbank ordered their employees to issue loans to dozens of fly-by-night companies under fictitious pledges. Thus, billions were withdrawn from the bank, which ended up abroad. Under the criminal scheme, after issuing the loans, Promsberbank assigned the rights of claim to its subsidiary, Oranta insurance, which then sold the loans to firms in Moldova and the Baltic States controlled by the defendants of the case. Later, these firms demanded through foreign courts that the debtors return the funds.
During questioning, Myazin denied that he was in fact the main owner of Promsberbank and personally gave orders to withdraw funds from it. However, as the publication notes, the investigation collected enough evidence against him.
To recall, Myazin, who was previously convicted for embezzlement at the turn of 1990s-2000s, suspected of controlling the activities of dozens of Russian credit institutions, including European Settlement Bank, Union-Bank CB, Alliance Bank CB, Bank of Investments and Crediting, Kreditimpex Bank CB, Falcon JSCB, Siberian Bank for Economic Development, Financial Bridge IC, and others. All these banks, the licenses of which were later revoked, were mentioned in the materials on laundering and cashing out of tens of billions of rubles, but Myazin managed to get away with it for a long time.
Aleksey Kulikov, who was convicted as part of Promsberbank case, and his partner Ivan Myazin used to be the largest specialists in the cashing out of vast sums and were periodically involved in high-profile cases. For example, both were mentioned in the investigation into the murder of First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Aleksey Kozlov, as they were familiar with the alleged contractor of the hit, banker Aleksey Frenkel. At the same time, the ‘shadow bankers’ were considered ‘untouchable’. Their stability was attributed to the reliable backing in law enforcement agencies and special services, which is indirectly confirmed by Kulikov's connection with ex-First Deputy Head of the ICR Main Investigations Directorate in Moscow, General Denis Nikandrov, who is currently held in a pre-trial detention center on charges of taking a bribe from thief in law Shakro Molodoy.
It is reported that Kulikov used to assist Nikandrov in the investigation into VAT embezzlement and even carried out interrogations together with him. However, after the arrest of Kulikov and Fomin, both of them testified against Myazin, noting his leading role in conducting various operations, including the withdrawal of funds from Promsberbank and the transfer of money to Deutsche Bank. According to Rosbalt, it was Boris Fomin, who provided the most detailed testimony against Myazin while in a pre-trial detention center; he concluded a pre-trial agreement with the investigation.
Initially, the defendants in the case had been charged with embezzlement through swindling in the amount of 225 million rubles ($3.3 million). In the final version of the indictment, the article was changed to 1.5-billion-ruble ($22.45 million) embezzlement.