The Financial Times reported on March 1 that prosecutors in Switzerland have charged four bankers who allegedly helped hide tens of millions of Swiss francs belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is one of the first court cases in the West directly related to assets allegedly belonging to the Putin.
According to the publication, the accused bankers were employees of the Swiss branch of Gazprombank, including Executive Director Roman Abdulin. According to the accusation, the text of which was provided to journalists by a court in Zurich, the bankers showed criminal negligence by allowing Sergei Roldugin, a cellist and godfather of Putin’s daughter, to open accounts in Switzerland without even questioning the origin of the funds flowing through them.
“It is notorious that Russian President Putin officially has an income of just over 100,000 Swiss francs ($107,000) and is not wealthy, but in fact has enormous assets managed by people close to him,” the indictment says. “Roldugin… (was) a straw man.”
Swiss Gazprombank denies the charges against its employees but also refuses to give more detailed comments, citing “ongoing legal procedures.” Prosecutors claim that Gazprombank conducted a minimal check of Roldugin before opening accounts. According to the prosecution, the bankers indicated in the declarations that the godfather of Putin’s daughter is “not a person connected with politics.”
Roldugin’s ties with the Kremlin and the Russian president are well known.
The accounts opened for the cellist in Switzerland indicate that Roldugin had assets of at least $50 million.
“The declared assets as a whole could not be Roldugin’s property,” Swiss prosecutors said.
Prosecutors claim that Gazprombank was aware of the cellist’s connections and influence. Their accusation also describes in detail how representatives of “Bank Rossiya” opened companies on behalf of Roldugin while trying to disguise their involvement with anonymous email addresses.
“Rossiya Bank is a bank of key Russian politicians, and its majority shareholder and management board chairman, Yuri Kovalchuk, is considered Putin’s treasurer,” the Swiss document says.
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