Total recall. Dmitry Ananiev saves assets by dumping his former ‘high patrons’ in London court
Once-successful banker Dmitry Ananiev is now successfully fighting against VIP shareholders of Promsvyazbank in the London High Court of Justice. The court has lifted the conservatory attachments earlier imposed on assets of brothers Ananiev following a motion brought by the plaintiffs. According to some information, the judge has made this decision after the banker’s revelations about money laundering schemes used in Russia by his clients, partners, and acquaintances. Why is Dmitry Ananiev taking revenge on his former colleagues and ‘high patrons’?
‘Russian seasons' in the London High Court of Justice are continuing. This time, the British judges are examining specific features of the Russian banking industry. A month ago, the London court has imposed a conservatory attachment on foreign assets of brothers Ananiev following a motion brought by wealthy and very upset shareholders of Promsvyazbank. $15.6 million and €11 million were frozen. In fact, this amount is not critical for brothers Ananiev – according to Forbes, the wealth of ill-fated bankers is some $700 million, and the shareholders’ claims don’t exceed 4% of their total fortune. Shares of Vozrozhdenie (Renaissance) Bank – nearly sold to VTB Bank at that time – were seized as well.
Dmitry and Aleksei Ananiev
But in early August, the High Court of Justice has changed its mind and unfroze the accounts of brothers Ananiev. The official reason behind this decision was the transfer of equal sums ($15.6 million and €11 million) to the court financial department by Dmitry Ananiev. It might seem that the hoodwinked VIP clients have nothing to worry about anymore. But this is not quite true.
According to Nezygar (@russica2) Telegram channel, Dmitry Ananiev has spent many hours with operatives of British secret services. Allegedly, he has shared with them several operational money laundering schemes used by his partners, clients, and acquaintances. The plaintiffs struggling for their money in the London court could be also mentioned in his revelations. It is impossible to verify this information – but Ananiev, who used to consider himself invincible, is really upset now.
Apparently, Dmitry Ananiev – who has got all the banking assets after the division of the family business with Aleksei Ananiev – decided that the VIP clients of Promsvyazbank have to blame themselves for everything. They were fully aware that credit notes are very risky securities – but still purchased those lured by unbelievable interest rate – 6% per year – and personal guarantees of the brothers. Obviously, Dmitry Ananiev has excellent persuasion skills: Promsvyazbank managed so sell the credit notes to 250 VIP clients, including such business sharks as Maria Sechina.
Too bad, the brothers had underestimated their creditors and ended up in the London court that can bring to account even oligarchs. In his conversation with British secret agents, Ananiev could remember some of his friends as well.
Warned and very dangerous
It is well-known that brothers Ananiev had ‘high patrons’ in the Bank of Russia and law enforcement structures. Aleksei Ananiev used to be the Head of Control Systems state corporation; in addition, the brothers had friendly ties with Sergei Dontsov, a lawyer at the Bank of Russia. Feeling themselves invincible, the bankers had behaved accordingly. After the disclosure of the notorious ‘Gavrilov’s list’ boding trouble to B&N Bank, Otkritie FC Bank, Credit Bank of Moscow, and Promsvyazbank, only brothers Ananiev were unwilling to yield to the pressure of the Bank of Russia. Dmitry Ananiev was shining with optimism and confidence in future. Later it became clear that the banker had meant his own future.
Unlike Boris Mints and Mikhail Gutseriev, brothers Ananiev haven’t come to the Bank of Russia asking for bank recovery and resolution – so, representatives of the regulatory body have arrived to them. The auditors were not pleased with the self-confidence of the former owners of Promsvyazbank and easily uncovered a number of violations earlier ignored by the central bank – for instance, aggressive acquisition of smaller banks practiced in the recent years by all financial institutions from the ‘Gavrilov’s list’. The auditors have also noted fake profits reported for the year of 2016 – brothers Ananiev had greatly overestimated the value of lands pledged as securities by the borrowers – and super-friendly terms of credits granted to various businesses belonging to them.
On December 14, 2017, the Bank of Russia has ordered Promsvyazbank to increase its reserves by 100 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) – without providing a deadline for the capital replenishment. On the next day, the regulatory authority has imposed interim administration in the bank. The ‘high patrons’ in law enforcement structures failed brothers Ananiev – but their friendship with Sergei Dontsov turned out to be really beneficial.
Despite the Bank of Russia’s order to increase the reserves, brothers Ananiev continued claiming that they hadn’t received any directions. Later officers of the Banking Sector Consolidation Fund (BSCF) responsible for the recovery and resolution of Promsvyazbank became aware that the bankers have done a lot on that day. In anticipation of the interim administration imposition, the owners of Promsvyazbank sold its shares to several offshore companies. The transactions have been made via Promsvyaz Capital B.V., the formal owner of shares in Promsvyazbank and Vozrozhdenie Bank belonging to brothers Ananiev. Apparently, the offshore companies acting as the purchasers were also affiliated with the brothers. According to the claim filed by the new Promsvyazbank administration against its former owners, the bankers managed to siphon off abroad 13.4 billion rubles ($200.4 million) and $83.2 million.
Trolley on the sidetrack
Then the brothers decided to strengthen the success achieved on December 14 – and on December 22, 2017, the interim administration of Promsvyazbank failed to locate 500 credit files containing information on 109 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) that had disappeared from the bank's accounts. The police started searching for the missing files – but it was not interested in the names of the supposed thieves. Nor was Vasily Pozdyshev, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, interested in identifying the criminals. His assistance to the investigation was limited to a statement calling the disappearance of the documents (i.e. funds) "signs of unlawful actions of the Promsvyazbank management". A few months later, the credit files have been unexpectedly found. The fate of the 109 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) still remains unknown – apparently, the BSCF and Bank of Russia have forgotten about this money.
While the law enforcement authorities were investigating the situation, brothers Ananiev had prepared to relocate abroad – allegedly, to receive medical treatment. Healthcare is pretty expensive in Europe, so the bankers have emptied their accounts in Vozrozhdenie Bank. Distrusting the banking system, they have withdrawn the money in cash. 4.5 billion rubles ($67.3 million) were stored in their own bank. The funds were siphoned off in a pretty original way – in trolleys. The new bank administration could not prevent the brothers from doing this because there was no moratorium on cash withdrawals by the clients. The Bank of Russia could institute a criminal case against the bankers – but it was too busy preparing to the New Year celebration, and in late December, Aleksei and Dmitry Ananiev have left the country.
In January, Aleksei Ananiev returned to Russia. After losing Promsvyazbank – that became a property of the BSCF, – the brothers wanted to sell Vozrozhdenie Bank. Suleyman Kerimov, languishing under home arrest in France in that period, was interested in buying it. However, the deal fell through, and Bonum Capital belonging to Kerimov became an intermediary between brothers Ananiev and VTB Bank that has acquired Vozrozhdenie Bank “as per request of the Bank of Russia”. No one can deny a request of the regulatory authority, and immediately after the lifting of the conservatory attachment imposed on the brothers’ assets, subordinates of Andrei Kostin, President and Chairman of the Management Board of VTB Bank, have resumed the negotiations and approved the acquisition of Vozrozhdenie Bank.
In the meantime, Dmitry Ananiev was ‘receiving treatment’ in Four Seasons Hotel in Cyprus. The therapy was so successful that he decided not to return home and started actively getting rid of his Russian assets without leaving the hotel suite. The assets were overburdened with debts and could be sold only by somebody's instruction – similarly with the sale of Vozrozhdenie Bank to VTB Bank. Ultimately, brothers Ananiev had to divide their assets to expedite their sales. Dmitry has got the banks and development business, while Aleksei has got the rest. Some assets were sold (for instance, Technoserv), while others faced quiet liquidation listlessly opposed by governors fearing of mass protests of fired people.
The fears haven’t panned out – but a new threat suddenly emerged for everybody familiar with brothers Ananiev. Dmitry Ananiev, who has lost his business, secluded himself in Cyprus, and was summoned to the London High Court of Justice, became bitterly disappointed in all his clients and partners and started sharing with British special agents everything he knew about them. Therefore, some of these people may soon join Dmitry Ananiev in Cyprus or even in court.