More precisely, someone Herman Gref lit up the owner of the British company Sbercoin LTD. Neither Gref himself nor the bank’s press service are in a hurry to comment on publications about this that appeared against the backdrop of a report on Sberbank’s performance in 2022. It is impossible to read these news separately, because the largest bank in Russia pays much less taxes than credit institutions in Europe.
Last year was not an easy one for the Russian economy, but the country’s largest retail bank showed brilliant results. The net profit of Sberbank amounted to 300 billion rubles. The portfolio of retail loans grew to 12 trillion rubles, corporate loans to 18.8 trillion rubles. (in both cases, an increase of more than 12%). The deposits of individuals reached the amount of 18.3 trillion rubles. (growth by 7%), legal entities decreased slightly – to 8.7 trillion rubles.
No information about Sbercoin LTD was found in the bank’s report. However, the data on this company is indeed contained in the British register of legal entities. Apparently, it could be connected with some personal project of German Gref abroad.
Crypt and Khasis
Sbercoin Limited Liability Company was registered in Cardiff on January 5, 2021. As its director and largest founder (more than 75% of the capital), a certain Herman Gref appeared in the register – a Russian citizen and a US tax resident, born in February 1964 (the month and year of birth also coincide with the data of the head of Sberbank). In any case, such a conclusion can be drawn from a document that is distributed in Telegram channels.
The founder of Sbercoin LTD declared the following activities: activities of mutual funds, activities for organizing trading in financial markets, activities for managing securities. It is likely that the company could be associated with Sberbank’s plans to release its own cryptocurrency, which became known in August 2020.
On June 21, 2022, the British authorities liquidated Sbercoin. It is appropriate to assume that this was due to anti-Russian sanctions.
The “bitcoin killer” (as the media called Sbercoin a couple of years ago) never came into being. In this regard, online commentators often criticize German Gref’s widely publicized plans to turn Sberbank into an IT corporation. Some recall the multibillion-dollar losses that the Sber ecosystem brought in 2021. Others – that a significant part of this business, the state, in general, the bank is trying to conduct with the participation of start-ups registered abroad.
As we remember, Lev Khasis, one of Gref’s closest associates, who was in charge of e-commerce at Sberbank, moved to the United States last spring. Around the same time, the British regulator notified Sbercoin LTD of its intention to remove it from the register by force. It is quite possible that Khasis, who, by the way, is a citizen of the United States, went to save the assets of his boss.
Herman Gref’s obvious interest in international business projects can hardly be considered a sensation. If he really was the founder of Sbercoin LTD, and not his full namesake, this still does not mean that he is a US citizen or has a residence permit in this country. However, the state banker could well be its tax resident, who provided the British authorities with a document confirming the presence of real estate in the States, an extract from an American bank account or even a utility bill.
Agree, otherwise he would clearly not have missed the opportunity to publicly “attach” the United States – at least for sanctions against Russia. German Gref could not only refute, but generally express his attitude towards the presence of American residency among Russians against the backdrop of current events. However, neither he nor his press service has so far expressed a desire to comment on the situation around Sbercoin Ltd.
Publications in telegram channels about this British company gave rise to a much more important discussion: how does the situation at Sberbank correspond to the current situation in the country? Over the past year, the bank received 300 billion rubles of profit and, as far as one can understand, will continue to invest it in the development of its non-banking business, which, among other things, can bring huge losses. With all this, the share of taxes in income from the operating activities of Sberbank does not exceed 8%. For comparison: gold mining companies – 20%, Gazprom – 38%, oil companies – more than 50%.
Now banks, in fact, have found themselves in a privileged position compared to the manufacturing sector – not only in Russia, but also in Europe. Interest rates are rising, and EU governments are increasingly thinking about withdrawing excess profits from the banking sector. For example, Hungary introduced an additional tax applied to the net proceeds of banks (10% for 2022, 8% for 2023). Spain approved a 4.8% tax on net interest and commission income at the end of 2022. Perhaps in Russia it would be expedient to consider the issue of increasing the tax burden of the largest bank in the country?