From January till March 2010 the bank transferred more than $ 1bln to accounts of dummy companies registered in offshore financial centers.
Presently the National Bank is verifying the data obtained from the US Department of the Treasury, as first deputy chairman of the Board of the National Bank Mikalay Luzgin told Interfax. Mikalay Luzgin is in charge of the bank surveillance.
“We are working with this issue, checking the data,” he said. MIkalay Luzgin pointed out to the fact that the bank follows the Belarusian legislation and refrains from further premature comments.
Previously general director of Credexbank Aliaksandar Aksianievich told the agency that the bank is consulting with the National Bank regarding the contract procedures for the US Department of the Treasury. “Right now we are trying to establish contacts with the US Department of the Treasury in order to refute this – mildly speaking – false information,” Aksianievich said.
In its report published yesterday, the US Department of the Treasury called the Belarusian Credexbank “an institution of primary money laundering concern” and included the bank to Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act as an institution that may be involved in the money laundering processes.
The US powers find the scale of the operations of Credexbank suspicious. Credexbank is relatively small (27 out of 32 Belarusian banks), and compared to its market capitalization, the transactions performed via correspondent accounts are unproportionately big, which according to the US Department of the Treasury is an indicator of money laundering on behalf of dummy companies. As the US Department of the Treasury reports, Credexbank has been engaged in “rather suspicious financial operations that indicate money laundering” since 2006 as the latest. In particular, the Department of Treasury insists that from January till March 2010 the Belarusian bank delivered $ 1bln in payments to dummy companies registered in offshore financial centers. It is also pointed out that Credexbank has 66 correspondent accounts, 20 of which are USD accounts, while the major Belarusian bank has only 18 correspondent accounts, according to the information of the US Department of Treasury.
The US Department of Treasury suggests conducting surveillance of Credexbank, and prohibiting American companies and banks to get involved in any transactions with it, until all suspicions against the bank are eliminated. This decision of the US powers is based on Sector 311 of the USA Patriot Act. According to the document, presently Credexbank has no direct correspondent relations with the USA.
The US Department of treasury reports that about 200 other nontransparent companies are registered on the legal address of Credexbank’s key shareholder, the Swiss company Vicpart. It is also emphasized that Vicpart had nearly no financial activity during 10 years, until it purchased Credexbank from the company Ximex which, according to the US Department of Treasury, also is a dummy company. Moreover, when the Belarusian bank was purchased, Vicpart’s financial balance equaled 100 thousand Swiss Francs ($ 108 thousand) of a contribution to the paid statutory capital.
Vicpart’s two previous CEOs were suspected of being accomplice in financial crimes.
Credexbank (Northern Investment Bank before February 2007) was founded in 2001 in the free economic zone Minsk. Today the Swiss company Vicpart Holding SA owns 98,82% of the bank’s shares. Another shareholder is Sentecinvest (1,18%). Credexbank’s beneficial owner is Michel Haessing (Switzerland).
The statutory capital of Credexbank is BR 150,4 bln ($ 18,5 mln according to the current rate). As for 1 April 2012, the bank’s assets equaled BR 334,9 bln ($ 41,2 mln).