The investigation into the financial scheme known as the “Moscow banking ring” ended with serious criminal convictions. Mentioned in the media as its key participants and beneficiaries, the Ananiev brothers now live outside the borders of Russia, and have retained huge wealth. The “switchmen” turned out to be hired managers of Promsvyazbank.
The existence of the “ring” was announced in 2018 by the Central Bank. The scheme allegedly included Otkritie Bank, Promsvyazbank and several pension funds. As explained in the Central Bank, ring transactions within the scheme made it possible to hide risky operations from the regulator for several years. In fact, it was about masking the flight of capital. But the most interesting thing is that as a result of the liquidation of the financial bubble, a grandiose criminal story was discovered, the storylines of which are now diligently hushed up by all participants.
Take out a loan and earn interest
One of the key participants and, possibly, the author of the “Moscow banking ring” scheme is Boris Mints, who lives comfortably in London. Nasha Versiya has already spoken in the first January issue about how a former associate of Anatoly Chubais and the beneficiary of Otkritie Bank is trying to evade responsibility with the help of anti-Russian sanctions. Perhaps he will succeed in the end. Because his comrades in the scheme, the Ananiev brothers, former beneficiaries of Promsvyazbank, are now excluded from the Interpol search bases under the pretext that in Russia they were victims of political persecution. Although the facts that have already become known clearly indicate something else: the Ananievs for a long time enjoyed the patronage of some very influential forces in Russia.
Let’s start with the fact that until recently the Central Bank was very loyal to Promsvyazbank (PSB), owned by the Ananyevs. In 2015, he was allowed to take over Bank Vozrozhdenie, at the same time Avtovazbank moved to PSB for reorganization. The check of Promsvyazbank by the Central Bank employees began in the spring of 2017 and lasted several months. According to the results, the bank’s management was presented with a lack of capital in the amount of about 200 billion rubles. But even after that, for several more months, the Central Bank negotiated with the beneficiaries of the bank on how to save the sinking ship. What was going on behind the scenes in the meantime? On August 31, 2017, when the Central Bank’s checks were in full swing at the PSB, the chairman of the board of the audited institution, Dmitry Ananiev, took out a loan in his own bank in the amount of 1.395 billion at 8.5% per annum. And he immediately put this money on a deposit opened in the name of his wife Lyudmila at 12.9% per annum. The wife received interest every month, paid the shares on the loan from them, and sent the difference to the family money box. True, this scheme did not work for long – in December, the Central Bank, who realized it, nevertheless obliged Dmitry Ananiev, as a co-owner of the bank, to increase the reserves of the credit institution, so that the loan had to be repaid ahead of schedule. But even in this short time, the couple received 17 million rubles “out of thin air”. And what is surprising: a criminal case on this episode was initiated only in 2021, although a temporary administration has been working in the PSB since 2018.
The Ananiev brothers by that time were actively using their wives to hide the capital withdrawn from the bank. As it now turns out, in the fall of 2017, PSB co-owner Alexei Ananiev suddenly entered into a marriage contract with his wife Daria, with whom by that time he had been legally married for 29 years. As a result, a collection of paintings (more than 5 thousand items), shares of several companies and real estate (apartments in Moscow, Austria and Portugal) became the personal property of a woman. So now, even if the current leadership wins a lawsuit against Alexei Ananyev in court to recover the billions withdrawn from the bank, the property registered in his wife’s name will be protected. By the way, Promsvyazbank managed to arrest the paintings in 2019. Their approximate cost is 1 billion rubles. But there is still no news about the sale of the collection. Dmitry Ananiev also turned the same scheme with a marriage contract. However, in early January, the Supreme Court of Russia declared illegal the agreement under which Ananiev transferred to his wife Lyudmila a house in the village of Gorki-2 and 23 land plots on Rublevka. He also gave her a 50% stake in the development company PSN, which builds houses in Moscow. However, the woman immediately sold the papers to some offshore companies, so it is now difficult to trace the true beneficiary of the construction business. The fate of the 4.5 billion rubles that the brothers withdrew from their accounts at Vozrozhdenie Bank in cash also remains vague.
In general, the financial claims of the current management of the PSB to the former owners are estimated at 280 billion rubles. The bank is trying to collect this money through arbitration. In parallel, a criminal case was initiated against the Ananyev brothers on embezzlement on an especially large scale and money laundering. In this regard, the former bankers were arrested in absentia in September 2019 by the Basmanny Court. In absentia, because by that time they had freely left for permanent residence from Russia. However, the current management of the bank is not the only party that wants financial retribution.
There is also a group of Promsvyazbank VIP depositors who believe that the Ananyevs deceived them for $120 million. It was all in the same 2017, when the brothers began to merge their banking business. VIP clients claim that Promsvyazbank employees forced them to withdraw money from bank deposits and invest in bonds. The depositors thought that these papers were related to the PSB and that the payments on them were guaranteed personally by the Ananyevs. Already in 2018, when the promised bond payments did not materialize, clients realized that they had been duped. The deceived VIPs gathered their strength for a long time and in 2019 filed a class action lawsuit against the Ananyevs for $40 million in the High Court of London. However, the judge decided that they turned to the wrong address, and sent the plaintiffs to seek the truth in Moscow or Cyprus. So the investors who have already lost money still owe Ananyev $ 2.7 million for legal costs.
The most persistent tried to find justice for the former bankers with the help of The Law Offices of Bud, a law firm owned by former US Attorney Bud Cummins. The position of lawyers is as follows: money received in bad faith was transferred to Cyprus through American banks, which means that transactions can be challenged in an American court. But given the current international situation, the prospects for the process seem very vague.
As for the Russian property of the banker brothers, it has long been arrested at the suit of the PSB. These are business jets, money on accounts in Russian banks, several apartments and buildings in Moscow, land plots in the Moscow region, a whole fleet of cars. The list is impressive, but it still doesn’t amount to 280 billion rubles. Its preliminary estimate is 90 billion rubles.
Former bankers have every reason to rub their hands happily. If they stayed in Russia to save their bank, they could fall under sanctions. And now they are free, with money, and even trying to pull on the image of political refugees. Most of all in this story went to the top managers of the bank who worked for the Ananyevs. Last fall, four of them received sentences for embezzlement of 87.2 billion rubles. And it was not about the fact that they took the money for themselves. Judging by the indictment, at the direction of the Ananyev brothers, since December 12, 2017, the defendants have drawn up several false contracts for the purchase of various securities by the bank. As a result, Andrey Mukin, the head of the operating unit, received 7.5 years in a penal colony, Olga Antonova, head of the settlements and securities transactions support department, received 6 years, Ekaterina Dukhova, deputy director of finance, and Aigul Shaikhutdinova, director of customer support and product development, received 5 years of deprivation each. freedom. With regard to Shaikhutdinova, the court deferred the actual serving of the sentence of imprisonment until her child reaches the age of fourteen. In addition, the convicts lost all their property, since they have to pay 66.4 billion rubles to the bank.