They decided to curry favor with their superiors, receive bonuses and promotions – this is how the state prosecution interprets the motives of the defendants in the TFB Finance case with 1.7 thousand victims and 2.4 billion in damage. The case was investigated for five years and reached the court, where it was revealed what was the role of each of the five accomplices. In the dock are two former deputies of Robert Musin and ex-employees of the TFB, who simultaneously worked in TFB Finance. More details in the material “BUSINESS Online”.
The victims are asked to return the case to the prosecutor, the lawyers – to stop
The court session in the case of “TFB Finance” started on the second attempt, and it again passed with a full house. 15 victims immediately came to the process, and the vast majority of them are pensioners. “Why was the number of the criminal case changed? What is it like?” – they were surprised in conversations among themselves in anticipation of the start of the process, only later finding out that this happened “in a technical way.” Once again, affected depositors expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that the charge was reclassified from fraud to abuse of power. They even came up with a name for the process: “Financers against pensioners.” There are five “financiers” in the dock: these are two former deputy chairmen of Tatfondbank Robert Musin Vadim Merzlyakov and Sergey Meshchanov, as well as managers of TFB Finance Timur Valshin, Rustam Timerbaev and Ilnar Abdulmanov.
After everyone could barely fit on three long benches, Judge Artem Idrisov identified the victims who appeared for the first time, and then patiently listened to their petitions. There were many. For example, 81-year-old victim Margarita Vladimirovna asked to be given the address where the defendants worked, what positions and working hours they had, and also to establish how many victims died in the case and what caused their death. The court explained to her: he does not issue certificates and does not explain anything, and she can read about the defendants in the criminal case, consisting of five hundred volumes. The victim Nailya Shageeva asked to reclassify the article as fraud. “The victims were mostly elderly people, and it was impossible to compete with highly professional and highly qualified financial figures,” she said, explaining in this way that they, pensioners, were simply deceived. The judge noted that the petition was filed prematurely – they say, the charge has not yet been announced. Approximately the same answer to her statement was heard by the victim named Ziyatdinova, who asked to return the case to the prosecutor, although the depositors agreed with her almost in unison, shouting “Yes!” from their seats.
When all the victims were heard, the judge said that he had received written petitions from the defendant Meshchanov and lawyer Natalya Mitusova Merzlyakov, who asked to stop the criminal case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. It was agreed that it would be discussed after the accusation was announced, to which, finally, everything was going.
What state was the TFB in?
The state prosecutor, assistant prosecutor of the Vakhitovsky district of Kazan, Ruslan Baibikov, told what, according to the investigation, the crime was, and most importantly, for the first time revealed to the public who played what roles in this criminal, according to the ICR, scheme. “Nightmare,” “cattle,” was all that could be heard from the back rows, where the victims were sitting, no, no, yes, who had time to grab individual sentences from the prosecutor’s hasty story.
According to the investigation and prosecution, Meshchanov, Merzlyakov, Valshin, Timerbaev and Abdulmanov, using their powers in the TFB and TFB Finance, “developed and implemented an illegal scheme” for offering trust management services. Under this scheme, Baibikov announced, in the branches of three banks at once – TFB, Intekhbank and Timer Bank – from February to December 2016, trust management agreements (DDU) were concluded with 1,746 depositors for 2 billion 379 million 650 thousand 164 rubles 93 pennies. “The terms of the contract were deliberately not fulfilled,” the prosecution is sure. It believes that the persons involved in the case in this case acted “intentionally, by an organized group, out of personal interest.”
From the general public prosecutor moved on to the details, which reveal the background of the actions of the “financiers”. He noted that in 2016, the TFB created a banking group, which included Intekhbank, Timer Bank and Sovetsky Bank (now Timer). The TFB itself controlled this group, planned and approved the budgets of banks. At the same time, even at that time, the state of the TFB was difficult: at the end of 2015, the bank showed a loss, and 2016 promised to be no better. The TFB did not even have its own funds to cover the losses. It was required to carry out additional capitalization of the bank “with the involvement of various sources of financing,” the prosecution says.
It would seem that you can plug the hole with contributions. But that was not the case: after checking the Central Bank, on its recommendation, the TFB limited the acceptance of deposits from the population “within the amount of deposits as of February 1, 2016.” By the way, this check revealed many violations in the bank. For example, as stated in the act of July 2016, on the balance sheet of the TFB there were securities at an inflated value, which were in trust management of TFB Finance – by 15.6 billion rubles. Also, the Central Bank revealed an underestimation of credit risk for borrowers by 17.6 billion rubles. The total is 33.2 billion rubles. And the most interesting thing is that all these points were not reflected in the reports of the TFB, which he submitted to the Central Bank. And this is a violation of the regulations of the Bank of Russia.
Given all of the above, the “patient” was instructed to develop and adopt a plan for the restoration of financial stability. The TFB, according to the indictment, approved “action plans” and undertook to “prevent negative consequences” from the onset of risks. How? By increasing the bank’s own capital “at the expense of assets attracted from its shareholders.”
However, only the “top” of the bank knew about the multibillion-dollar losses. The actual state of affairs was hidden from both clients and most bank employees. However, for all five defendants in the current criminal case – Merzlyakov, Meshchanov, Valshin, Abdulmanov and Timerbaev – the poor state of affairs in the bank was no secret, the prosecutor said. Despite this, they carried out their scheme.
Why was it necessary to create a scheme with the redemption of TFB bonds
The scheme was to buy back illiquid TFB bonds. “Cranked” it through a subsidiary of the bank – “TFB Finance”. The firm was established in 2006 and was located at the same address as the head office of the bank – on Chernyshevsky Street. At the same time, the defendants in the case combined work in the TFB with activities in TFB Finance (both are professional participants in the securities market, there is a conflict of interest here), and they traded on the stock exchange on behalf of the founding firms of the latter, including Musin’s New Petrochemistry , Artug-Finance LLC, which is also classified as a technical firm, and others. All this allowed Tatfondbank, in the absence of formal signs of affiliation, to use the money and assets of these legal entities in their economic interests, the prosecution believes.
Thus, the defendants on behalf of four counterparties (TFB Finance, AktivAr Management Company, TFB-Capital Management Company, Sovetsky Bank) from July to December 2016 bought and sold exchange-traded bonds of the TFB on the stock exchange. In this way, they provided “the appearance of market demand”, although in fact other market participants had no interest in these bonds. However, even despite these, in fact, fictitious operations, the TFB was unable to provide “funding” for its work, since the bonds were actually redeemed at the expense of the TFB’s own funds. And coupled with the fact that the bank limited the acceptance of deposits, this had a doubly negative impact on the financial condition of the TFB.
Then Merzlyakov, Meshchanov, Valshin, Timerbaev and Abdulmanov, prosecutor Baibikov said, decided to sell TFB stock exchange bonds that no one needed to current and future investors not only of Tatfondbank, but also of those organizations that were part of the banking group with it – Intekhbank and Timer Bank “. All the defendants were well aware of the conflict of interest in the activities of TFB and TFB Finance (a subsidiary company buys bonds from the founding company for its own money). They were guided by careerism, the prosecution believes: they wanted to achieve high performance. To do this, they “entered into a criminal conspiracy” and decided to mislead depositors with DDU agreements. The defendants, according to the prosecution, wanted to provide financing for the activities of the TFB at the expense of the bank’s depositors on unfavorable terms for the latter, but at the same time wanting the best for themselves. In addition, they wanted to improve the financial performance of TFB and TFB Finance, but again, not for the good of the organizations, but in their own interests, in order to embellish the results of their work, curry favor with management, receive bonuses and even career advancement.
The scheme was “introduced” directly into the divisions of the TFB. In simple words: people brought money to open a deposit insured by the DIA, and instead they entered into a DDU agreement with them to invest their money in bonds, knowingly without informing about the risks and conditions.
Charge: who was who in the criminal group and how they misled the management of banks
Merzlyakov, deputy Musin, is considered the organizer of the scheme by the investigation and prosecution. He coordinated the actions of other members of the criminal group, provided “conspiracy”, disposed of money.
According to the prosecutor’s office and the Investigative Committee, Meshchanov (also Musin’s deputy) was responsible for the “introduction” of the DDU scheme into the work of the TFB banking group, and Timerbaev helped him.
The general director of “TFB Finance” Valshin, in turn, worked on his “territory”. He created the conditions for Timerbaev and Abdulmanov so that they could “introduce a criminal scheme into the work of other employees of TFB Finance LLC”, and then dispose of the money received from investors under the guise of trading operations on the stock exchange under a brokerage service agreement on behalf of affiliates. Valshin, by the way, simultaneously served as deputy director of the investment business department at the TFB.
Timerbaev was the head of the client service department of TFB Finance, and at the same time, the head of the client operations department of TFB. In the criminal scheme, he had to create conditions in order to “mislead” the employees of the Tatfondbank banking group. In other words, both Valshin, and Timerbaev, and Meshchanov “treated” the employees of both banks and TFB Finance, paving the way for the implementation of their scheme.
Abdulmanov in the scheme was responsible for creating the appearance that TFB Finance really consciously manages investors’ money. He also worked simultaneously both in the bank and in the subsidiary: both here and there he was the head of the active operations department.
From April to June, Merzlyakov instructed his “accomplices” to develop and implement a scheme in the work of the branches of the TFB banking group. For such “deposits” they came up with new names: “Profitable investments”, “Profitable investments +”, Profitable investments of IIS”. They promised a high income, and most importantly, they said that the money was insured. For new products, documents were developed that formally gave the Central Bank the appearance that the activities of TFB Finance complied with the law.
The DDU, which was signed by the depositors, said that they transfer their money to TFB Finance for management, and TFB Finance, in turn, undertakes to manage the funds for a fee in the interests of the depositor. There was a clause in the paper: if the depositor signs the agreement, this means that he carefully read the DDU and agreed with all the clauses. The prosecution believes that the defendants used their powers to include in the contracts conditions that are obviously unfavorable for the client. For example, it is said that the object of investment is securities with a low risk of default, that the risks of loss are also low, etc.
In TFB, such “contributions” began to be offered in the committee on products and sales, whose employees were themselves misled, the prosecution believes. They allegedly actually thought that the money was being placed in a bank.
“I decided to embellish the situation”: how and for what the ex-chairmen of Intechbank are tried
At the end of July 2016, the scheme was extended to other banks – Timer Bank and Intekhbank. “At the same time, the management and employees of Timer Bank PJSC, Intekhbank PJSC, being misled about the legality of the services of TFB Finance LLC, concluded agency agreements with the latter. According to these agreements, the banks were obliged to involve their employees in the work on the conclusion of the DDU and to force depositors to transfer their money to TFB Finance.
The prosecution also notes that the consulting rules that Merzlyakov & Co. “introduced” into the work of bank branches contained “deliberately false information.” In particular, employees had to talk about the fact that TFB “is a financially reliable state-owned bank, which guarantees the safety of funds, and the risk of bankruptcy is minimal.” However, the defendants knew that the share of the republic in the bank at that time was 10.8%, and the presence of other shareholders with state participation in the authorized capital was in no way a guarantee of the safety of depositors’ money.
Such a scheme, the prosecution believes, made it possible in a short time – from April to December 2016 – to attract money from 1,746 investors, who bought illiquid TFB bonds.
All five defendants were charged with abuse of power (Article 201 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), but Merzlyakov was charged with a reservation, as the organizer of the crime.
At the next court session, the public prosecutor will continue to read out the charge, after which the court will have to consider the motion to dismiss the case. The statute of limitations on it, we recall, came out in mid-December 2022.