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GORKI, September 23 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev called for the banking community to analyse legislations of the European Union and other countries, referring to legal options for banks to fight money laundering or financial illegal activities.
He discussed the topic during the meeting with VTB’s CEO Andrei Kostin on Friday.
One of the problems in the sphere is that the Russian legislation nowadays does not provide sufficient authorities to banks.
“We can only inform the financial monitoring service, but we cannot unilaterally terminate an agreement, or close an account, or refrain from serving an operation,” Kostin said. “A bank should have a right to make a decision about refraining from serving an operation or about closing an account.” This would let banks pursue a preemptive tactic, as opposed to find out post factum reasons of a violation, he explained.
“I do not rule out it would be necessary to analyse legislations of the European Union and other countries in the part where banks have a right to refrain from servicing a client order, should it cause doubts,” Medvedev said. “I do agree that the problem exists and that that you should have legal instruments, but before we change the Civil Code, we should study international experience.”
Kostin said that VTB together with the financial monitoring service and the central bank had begun working on the matter so that to present their suggestions to the president. Medvedev stressed that the work would be a movement towards more civilised relations between banks and clients, which complies with the country’s plans to organise an international financial centre in Moscow.
“Whatever twists and turns happen at international financial markets, the objective to organise an international financial centre remains unchanged,” Medvedev said, stressing that fighting illegal revenues is a major component of the work.
“Over the past year, the bank made about 12,000 reports about dubious operations to the financial monitoring service,” he said, explaining that the number quoted makes less than one percent of VTB’s all operations. “We have not fixed a single operation connected with financing of terror or extremist activities; mostly, those were attempts to escape or reduce taxes.”