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Moscow police shuts down illegal bank that cashed 1 billion roubles

February 28, 2012, 18:37 UTC+3

Members of the criminal group, without proper license or permits, engaged in illegal banking in the period from 2008 through to 2012

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MOSCOW, February 28 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow police shut down a bank, which illegally cashed 1.6 billion roubles in several years. The masterminds behind the scheme misappropriated 48 million roubles. They have been detained, the press service of the Interior Ministry's main department for combating economic crime and corruption (GUEBiPK) told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"GUEBiPK personnel intercepted the illegal activity of an organized group, whose members are suspected of illegal financial transactions. As a result of the operation of the illegal "bank," more than 1.6 billion roubles have been poured into the shadow sector of the economy... They charged 3 percent commission for their services. According to preliminary estimates, the revenue derived from illegal financial operations exceeded 48 million roubles," the press service said.

According to the GUEBiPK, the members of the criminal group, without proper license or permits, engaged in illegal banking in the period from 2008 through 2012. They handled settlements, remittances at the order of natural persons and legal entities, cash collection and cash-out transactions.

In their activities, the wrongdoers used practically all the schemes of illegal cash withdrawal. They had some 50 fly-by-night firms at their disposal in different Russian regions. "Clients' shadow funds" were transferred to the accounts of these firms, allegedly as the payments for goods and services, police said.

In addition, the masterminds exploited their connections with senior executives or personnel of a number of commercial banks, which enabled them to cash "clients' funds through the accounts opened for private entrepreneurs they controlled."

Another scheme envisioned cash withdrawals through ATMs. For example, a search of a suspect's apartment found some 20 bank cards belonging to different loan institutions.

GUEBiPK agents search nine apartments and four offices in Moscow, Moscow region and Omsk, confiscating seals and founding documents of fly-by-night firms, data chips with bank-client remote control system, bank cards and other documents showing the group's illegal activities.

Seventeen persons were questioned; most of them confessed to wrongdoing.

The group's mastermind is under house arrest, police said.


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