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ERB Bank denies money-laundering accusations

, a Czech lendercontrolled by Russian businessman Roman Popov, rejected media reports allegingthat it has been involved in money laundering and transferring funds to taxhavens.

Czechmedia outlets reported July 21 following a report in Mladá fronta Dnes claiming that the notifiednational anti-corruption officials some ERB Bank funds had been transferredabroad.

Thebank reportedly withdrew the funds via transactions buying fictitious bonds,with the payment sent through Austria to a tax haven, Mladá fronta Dnes said, citing a source "familiar with thesituation."

Thelender called the news report "a lie and an attempt to discredit Russianbusiness in Europe," adding that it intends to launch legal steps againstthe publication.

ERBBank in a July 22 statement also noted that the central bank identified anumber of problems at the lender during a five-month inspection, but money-launderingactivities were not among them. The lender is in the process of addressing theproblems highlighted during the inspection and is providing the regulator withweekly updates on how it is addressing them.

TheCzech central bank launched administrative proceedings against ERB Bank in March, banning it fromgranting loans and accepting deposits. Mladáfronta Dnes revealed that Popov also controls Russia-based , whose license theRussian central bank recently revoked.