Bank “Russia” – a household name.

In July 2011 the Federal Financial Markets Service of Russia allowed the Joint-Stock Bank ” Russia “, the first Russian bank that is included in the top-30, not to publish information about significant changes in its assets and profits, as well as changes in the shareholding structure. Thus, the Bank “Russia”, was the first of the major Russian banks that took advantage of the changes in legislation and became even more closed. But the bank, either directly or via its companies and its shareholders owns or controls the main and largest Russian media: 1 channel, NTV, NTV-Plus, CTC Media, Channel 5, REN-TV, Video International, Rutube, the newspaper “Izvestia “, radio “Echo of Moscow” and others. It is the leading player in the Russian insurance market – a group of companies “SOGAZ”, runs the largest non-state pension fund “Gazfond” and much more. And now the bank can officially not publish information about its shareholders.

Why did a rather private bank need to drop the veil of mystery more and try to hide not only profits, but also its few shareholders? Maybe their names do point on something? In this case, a reasonable question appears – who actually owns the Bank “Russia”? It is possible that it would be quite difficult to give the answer to this question. After 2000 the list of shareholders has changed significantly. Today it consists of close friends or relatives of Vladimir Putin. But this, of course, only indirectly, may indicate the real owner. Only one hope remains though – to trace who, how and with what money built this financial empire and acquired large stakes in the bank.

For example, let’s take the second-largest shareholder of the bank – Nicholay Terentyevich Shamalov. Shamalov became a shareholder of the bank in late 2004 and in June 2005, increased his stake to 12.583% of the shares, paying a total of more than sixteen million U.S. dollars. Where from did such a humble employee of the company “Siemens” take such huge amounts of money? To answer this question it is necessary to go back to history, described by me in an open letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, about the construction of the huge palace complex near Gelendzhik for the prime minister of Russia – Vladimir Putin, that costs about $ 1 billion. My letter was printed in Russian and foreign mass media and widely reported on the Internet. However, the President, constantly emphasizing his love for modern information technologies and actively using the Internet, managed somehow to pass by, probably, such an insignificant, in his opinion, fact as a fact of corruption that is directly linked to the national leader. But let us leave such a selective attitude towards corruption on the conscience of Mr Medvedev.

Let us consider the scheme of formation of funds on the accounts in foreign banks, that was outlined in details in my letter and in subsequent publications and interviews (a common list of documents – here). In 2001 on request of President Putin a number of major Russian businessmen have donated large sums to charitable projects in the field of healthcare. The condition for getting the contracts and participation in supplies was the transfer to the accounts of offshore companies in a western bank of funds in the amount of 35% of the amount of donations. For example, only Roman Abramovich has donated 203 million dollars (1, 2). With this money medical equipment was delivered to the Russian Military Medical Academy (the largest contracts – 3, 4). The main supplier of the equipment was a purpose created British company EM & PS Ltd. (7), which purchased the equipment from manufacturers at prices with a substantial discount (the largest contracts – 5, 6) and then, after paying tax, transferred profits to an offshore company Rollins Int. Ltd. (8, 9). Then the money came to the companies, that belonged to N. Shamalov (12). In 2004 Shamalov was instructed by Putin to buy a large stake in the Bank “Russia.” In late 2004 and early 2005 Shamalov and Gorelov acquired 12.583% of shares. Money for the purchase of these shares were received to Shamalov’s account at the Bank “Russia” in the form of dividends from the company Rollins Int. Ltd. (10). Thus, the shares of the Bank “Russia” were purchased with money donated by Russian oligarchs, at the request of President Putin’s for charitable projects. The same source of money was used further for the purchase of an insurance group “SOGAZ”, and the construction of the Palace near Gelendzhik (19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24).

The history of construction of the Palace is already rather known. The history of the purchasing of the insurance group “SOGAZ” is very interesting because it resembles the mechanism of mortgage auctions, when a company is sold to a particular buyer at a low price, paid by credits and a refund of funds is implemented from the profits of the company. For example, R. Abramovich told in details at a London court how he bought an oil company “Sibneft”. Without having his own funds, he with the help of Boris Berezovsky got a loan of 100 million dollars and with that money he bought “Sibneft”. He returned the loan by selling oil, that in fact belonged to people, and then a few years later sold the “Sibneft” to “Gazprom” for 13.1 billion dollars (131 times more expensive). Everyone knows that “Gazprom” is the people’s property, therefore, it paid for “Sibneft” with the people’s money.

In 2004, Miller was instructed by Vladimir Putin to sell “Gazprom” shares to the insurance company “SOGAZ”. N. Shamalov in turn asked me to prepare the necessary funds to buy the shares, obtained from the implementation of welfare contracts. After determining the total value of shares, it was decided that 51% will purchase the investment company “Abros” (100% subsidiary of the Bank “Russia” – (14), 12.47% of Ltd “ACCEPT” (owned by Michael L’vovitch Shelomov – nephew of Vladimir Putin – (18) and OAO “LIRUS.” The money for the purchase of shares of “SOGAZ” in “IK Abros” and “ACCEPT” was received under loan agreements with the company «Santal Trading Corp». Ltd “IK Abros” received 21 million U.S. dollars (13), and 20 million from Dresdner Bank, guaranteed by «Santal Trading Corp» (15,16). Ltd “ACCEPT” – U.S. $18 million (17).

Thus, the funds that was used to purchase one of the largest Russian insurance companies, the company “IK Abros” and Ltd “ACCEPT” received from those 35%, that by the direction of Vladimir Putin, were transferred to offshore accounts. Return of the loan funds was implemented at the expense of dividends received from “SOGAZ”, as well as at the expense of foreign companies funds, which were controlled by “SOGAZ” and its management. Currently, Ltd “IK Abros” (which owns 5.864% of the shares of Bank “Russia”), “ACCEPT” as well as N. Shamalov are shareholders of the Bank “Russia.”

One can hardly doubt that the origin of the money and its subsequent motion, does not point to its real owner, and, consequently, the real owner of the shares of the Bank “Russia”, Russian TV, mainstream media, the largest financial institutions, and much more. And in the end not only of the Bank “Russia”, but simply of RUSSIA.

Sergey Kolesnikov

01.11.2011

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