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Russian investigators seize Roerich paintings in ex-banker’s fraud case

March 07, 19:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian investigators have held searches at the International Centre of the Roerichs as part of a case, in which former CEO of the license-stripped Master-Bank is accused of fraud

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© Sergey Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Russian investigators have held searches at the International Centre of the Roerichs as part of a case, in which former CEO of the license-stripped Master-Bank Boris Bulochnik is accused of fraud.

As spokeswoman for Russia’s Interior Ministry Irina Volk told TASS, during investigative and search measures, law enforcement officers "seized the paintings by Nikolai and Svyatoslav Roerichs acquired by the former chairman of a Moscow bank’s management board with the funds stolen from the credit institution."

The spokeswoman did not specify the businessman’s name.

However, as TASS learnt from law-enforcement agencies, the talk was about former co-owner of Master-Bank Boris Bulochnik. As the source said, Bulochnik was transferring the paintings by the renowned Russian artists, philosophers and public figures Nikolai and Svyatoslav Roerich to the Roerichs Center as he was the center’s sponsor.

At the same time, the Interior Ministry spokeswoman said that "the ex-chairman of the management board was a sponsor of one of international public organizations and was transferring the paintings by Nikolai and Svyatoslav Roerich to the said organization under donation agreements after acquiring them with the funds received by affiliated private individuals under fictitious loans in the bank."

As the spokeswoman explained, the investigation has information that the former banker was transferring the paintings from 1990 to 2010.

A criminal case has been opened against the bank’s ex-CEO on count of premeditated bankruptcy that was later reclassified into a fraud case.

The ex-banker is hiding outside Russia. He has been put on the international wanted list, the Interior Ministry spokeswoman said. Master-Bank was stripped of its banking license in 2013 for large-scale dubious operations.

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