Security & Fraud

Russian Bank Loses License Due To Money Laundering

money laundering

A Russian bank with ties to a former U.S. congressman has lost its license amid money-laundering violations.

Bloomberg reported Friday (April 5) that Commercial Bank of Ivanovo, which is 80 percent owned by former North Carolina Republican Rep. Charles Taylor, had its license revoked because, as the Russian central bank said, it “regularly” broke regulations governing anti-money laundering rules. In addition, the bank also misrepresented the size of provisions, and inflated its capital through the use of “schemes,” as the newswire reported.

Commercial Bank of Ivanovo was Russia’s 294th largest bank, as estimated by regulators.

Taylor served in Congress from 1991 to 2007.

The Wichita Eagle reported that the Bank of Russia said the Commercial Bank of Ivanovo lied “in order to improve its financial indicators and conceal its actual financial standing” and that although the bank’s business had spanned individual and corporate lending, 70 percent of its business came from “low quality loans.”

The Bank of Russia also said it will bring evidence of “criminal offence to law enforcement agencies.” An administrator has been put in place to oversee the Commercial Bank of Ivanovo operations. Reports stated that the former congressman bought the bank with Boris Bolshakov, a former KGB agent and Supreme Soviet deputy who is listed as the bank’s second-largest shareholder, the newspaper report said.

The report also said two people testified that Taylor “knew about fraudulent loans made by Asheville-based Blue Ridge Savings Bank, which he owned at the time, to a political supporter.” Taylor had denied knowing about the loans.

The Commercial Bank of Ivanovo news comes as Russian money-laundering activities have been in the spotlight at other institutions. As reported, Swedbank has been alleged to have been involved in a $230 billion Danske Bank money laundering scandal. As Bloomberg noted, the Russian central bank also has “purged more than 40 percent” of the country’s lenders over the past six years to combat fraud.

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