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Russian banks prevent transfer of more than 886B rubles into shadow economy

Russian banks prevented the transfer of more than 886 billion rubles into the shadow economy during the first nine months of 2019, according to the country's Federal Financial Monitoring Service, or Rosfinmonitoring.

Rosfinmonitoring head Yuri Chikhanchin said at the meeting of Russia's Federation Council that suspicious transfers abroad continue to pose a problem, although they have fallen by more than half from their peak in 2017. For the nine months of 2019, the value of dubious cash transfers abroad reached 522 billion rubles compared with 1.4 trillion rubles in 2016.

Chikhanchin said more than 1 trillion rubles had been transferred from Russia between 2007 and 2014 through various "laundromat schemes," including the so-called "Moldovan scheme," scandals involving ABLV Bank AS and the Estonian branch of Danske Bank A/S, as well as other schemes.

Law enforcement agencies opened more than 30 criminal cases against Russian individuals who used the services of those "laundromats" and around 40 Russian banks involved in those schemes lost their banking licenses, Chikhanchin said.

The Financial Action Task Force said in October that Russia has an in-depth understanding of the money laundering and terrorist financing risks it faces and is particularly effective in its investigation and prosecution of terrorist financing. Russian should refine its approach to supervision and prioritize the investigation and prosecution of complex money laundering, especially concerning money being laundered abroad, the FATF said.

As of Dec. 10, US$1 was equivalent to 63.52 Russian rubles.