Trusted banker — story of Lev Granovsky
Everything is still fine with the Nash Dom bank, which was headed by Lev Granovsky. It still operates under the license of the Russian Central Bank. However, its former Chief now has to face claims worth tens of millions of dollars from the citizens.
The Chairman of the Nash Dom (Our House) bank Lev Granovsky drew attention of the mass media in March 2016. His wife made a statement before the police, claiming that a member of the public council of the Moscow State University and a famous photographer disappeared from home.
The Nash Dom investors got nervous, but a week later, Granovsky was found in France. Olga Granovskaya retracted her statement from the police and explained that the whole situation happened because of a family quarrel.
"Do not worry, we are fine"
On March 22, the Nash Dom bank published an official message on its website to reassure the investors.
"Dear Clients! We are fine, do not worry! We promptly informed the chairman of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation about a vacation," the message reported.
It was also noted on the website that during Granovsky’s vacation, the Acting Chairman of the Board will be Nikolay Manaykin. Everyone sighed with relief.
However, when the Banki.ru portal reported that the legal entities among the Nash Dom clients were withdrawing their funds en masse from the deposit accounts, the panic was instigated once again. A source told the media outlet that the withdrawal had lasted throughout the week before the message about Granovsky’s vacation, and on Friday, the Nash Dom bank had been visited by representatives of the Central Bank.
The bank immediately denied the information on the withdrawal of funds by legal entities, but it still provoked rumors about the imminent loss of license. In addition, a source familiar with the situation told that Lev Granovsky had left the country for a much longer period than suggested by the planned vacation.
In April, it was revealed that the bank's assets decreased by 32.6% in the I quarter of 2016 and amounted to 2.5 billion rubles by April 1, 2016. The main reason was called the outflow of funds from deposits of individuals and legal entities. The resource base shrank dramatically in those three days, from March 18 to 21, when the media reported that Lev Granovsky was sought.
Moreover, the bank reported a sharp decline in the H2 instant liquidity ratio from 69.78% to 29.07% (according to the rules of the Central Bank, it should not fall below 15%) and the H3 current liquidity ratio from 154.53% to 56.76% (the minimum should be no less than 50%), making steps towards the possible revocation of the license. To improve the situation, the financial institution announced the search for new investors.
The Chairman of the bank Board of Directors Lev Granovsky, who had gone missing to be found later, as the Chief Accountant of Nash Dom Irina Makarova noted, quietly resigned on April 1.
Deposits on receipt
Current whereabouts of Lev Granovsky are unknown. His tracks are lost somewhere in Europe. There is nothing strange in that, because Granovsky is known among the photographers as a traveler and a landscape artist.
However, as reported by Mosmonitor with reference to an informed source, a number of courts in Moscow are reviewing a variety of claims from individuals for the recovery of debts from Lev Granovsky. Some of them have already been satisfied, the rest is under consideration.
The source estimated these claims at approximately 20-50 million dollars.
It turned out that Granovsky was working with VIP-clientele, employing a scheme, which has recently become very popular among bankers.
Using his influence as the Chairman of the Board and the popularity in the media (Granovsky is an author of several well-known photo-exhibitions and he often visited major social events), the banker was taking money from the people in his office under personal liability and on receipt, not according to the deposit agreement.
The victims reported this in the court, preferring to remain anonymous until the verdict is passed.
Their motives are understandable — there are many famous Moscow businessmen and even law enforcers among Granovsky’s creditors.
The media outlet noted that such a procedure had not been a surprise for those VIP-depositors, and neither was the fact that, being the Chairman of the Board, Lev Granovsky owned only 8% of its shares.
Russians are accustomed to the fact that the property in this country is often issued on the trustees, so they were not alarmed of knowing that according to documents, Granovsky only headed the bank.
On October 20, 2016, the Arbitration Court of Moscow will hold a meeting "at the request of D.V. Sklyarov on recognizing L.B. Granovsky as insolvent (bankrupt)".
The judge Evgeniya Lugovik decreed to provide all information on financial obligations and property from creditors and debtors for the meeting, so long as they are pledged items. The Federal Migration Service was requested to determine the "information about the registered address current whereabouts of a Russian citizen, Granovsky Lev Borisovich."
Photo: the verdict
Banking experts cited by Mosmonitor see signs of fraudulent bankruptcy in this situation, as well as fraud, illegal banking activity, and concealing assets from creditors.
This is a relatively new kind of fraud characterized by taking deposits from clients for the balance and the so-called black accounting.
Earlier, similar schemes were uncovered in Mosoblbank (Central Bank revoked its license in 2011), Master-bank (license revoked in 2013), and a number of other financial institutions.
In contrast, the Nash Dom bank continues to operate under the license of the Central Bank № 3296. And Lev Granovsky is still listed among its shareholders.
Photo: the excerpt from Unified register database
Informed sources believe that Granovsky might now be staying in Italy, where he continues to manage the remains of his business through his son — Boris Granovsky, former and current top manager of several companies.
Until 2007, for several years, Boris Granovsky had been working in Severstal, managing the Severstal-resurs Department of Development and Strategy. In recent years, he has been working as the managing partner of Alexey Mordashov’s investment fund Aterra Capital and the director of an exploration and mining company Silver Bear Resources.
It is worth noting that shareholders’ equity of Nash Dom is several times smaller than the amount of financial demands from the citizens to the former Chairman of the Board. Therefore, it is reasonable to ask what happened to the money Granovsky received from the clients.
The experts have two versions. The first of them being that the bank was just a cover, which for a long time allowed its head to accept large sums with no intention to put them into circulation, practically stealing them.
Former employees of the bank believe that the Chairman of the Board could invest this money in the mining projects of his son, the Canadian Silver Bear Resourses (in particular, one of its major projects in Russia is the development of the Mangazeysky silver-polymetallic deposit in Yakutia).
Another possible investment destination for Granovsky is rumored to be joint projects with former high-ranking official Danilov-Danilyan.
Anton Danilov-Danilyan is the former Head of the economic management of the Presidential Administration, the Head of the expert council, a member of the Business Russia General Council of the public organization and the Chairman of the Committee on the investment policy of the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Sberbank of Russia JSC, Oboronprom OJSC, Sukhoy experimental design bureau, Rosgosstrakh OJSC, Aerokosmicheskoe Oborudovanie (Aerospace Equipment OJSC, and others. Since June 2004, he has been engaged in business activities in the banking and the defense and industrial sectors of the economy, works as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of RODEKS-Group OJSC.
Photo: Anton Danilov-Danilyan
According to the second version, Lev Granovsky could deposit this money into the bank, paying off bad loans of the borrowers, falsifying bank statements. Only the Chairman of the Board can either confirm or refute both versions. However, whether the well-known photographer and former banker appears on the court hearing into his own bankruptcy will be clear only on the day of the hearing.
Experts point out that the protection of the creditors’ legitimate interests in civil proceedings is rarely effective. Law enforcement practice of deliberate or fictitious bankruptcy of individuals is formed insufficiently, because the procedure of bankruptcy of individuals in Russia itself is too young (art. 2 of № 127-FZ Federal Law "On Insolvency (Bankruptcy)" is dated 26.10.2002).
The situation can change only if the Central Bank urges to turn personal liability of shareholders and managers into the subject of monitoring and control, just like the bank’s liabilities.
As for the ordinary depositors of the Nash Dom bank, they have no reasons to be preoccupied yet.
According to the Banki.ru portal, by September 1, 2016, the Nash Dom’s net assets amounted to 2.13 billion rubles (446th place in Russia), the capital calculated in accordance with the requirements of the Central Bank was 0.48 billion, the loan portfolio — 1.53 billion, and the obligations to depositors — 0.94 billion.
Although the bank has not been in its best shape recently, the situation is not yet critical.
Nash Dom is a member of the Deposit Insurance System, which means that its individual clients with less than 1.4 million rubles on their amounts (this is the upper limit of insured benefits, which can be reimbursed together with the accrued interest on the deposit by the Deposit Insurance System) have nothing to fear. On the other hand, there is no such guarantee for Lev Granovsky’s VIP-creditors, who entrusted him millions on receipt.