U.S. Treasury accused Credexbank of money laundering

April 22, 2016 18:10

According to the U.S. Treasury, during two months in 2010 the Credexbank transferred over USD 1 billion to hundreds offshore companies registered in various international offshore zones without the corresponding payments received by this Belarusian bank. The Treasury proposed to introduce a ban for all U.S. financial institutions on opening correspondent accounts and making payments with the Credexbank.

General Director of the Credexbank Alexander Aksenevich flatly rejected all accusations of the U.S. Treasury, “Naturally, it is a complete surprise for us. This is nonsense. We are now trying to contact the U.S. Treasury to refute this, to put it mildly, implausible information”, Mr. Aksenevich said to the Interfax-West news agency and emphasized the damage caused to the bank’s reputation.

The National Bank of Belarus decided to hold an ad hoc inspection at the Credexbank and based on the outcomes to consider further response reaction.

According to unofficial information, the ban for U.S. financial institutions to carry out transactions with the Credexbank could be an attempt to put pressure on the Belarusian authorities, as the ultimate beneficiaries of the bank could be businesses close to the country’s leadership.

For reference. The Credexbank is owned by SENTEKINVEST – 1.18% of shares and VICPART HOLDING SA (Switzerland) - 98.82%. Beneficial owner is Michel Haessig (Switzerland). Chairman of the Credexbank Supervisory Board is Sarkis Simavoryan, representing VICPART HOLDING SA. As of April 1st, 2012, bank’s assets were USD 41.8 million, shareholders’ equity - USD 26.3 million.

It should be made clear that Belarusian residents regularly carry out export-import and investment transactions with non-residents of the international offshore areas, however their volume is insignificant (see Table 1).

Table 1. Foreign investments between Belarus and off-shores, tons.

Country

Q1, 2011

Q1 2012

Investment from off-shore zones to Belarus

Cyprus

310877

202407.1

British Virgin Islands

11976.5

27165.2

Liechtenstein

7816.6

5304.8

Panama

387.2

4077.6

Dominica

2080

1283.7

Gibraltar

53.6

849.1

Belize

31.7

519.2

Seychelles

9.7

450

Luxembourg

1121.6

447

Isle of Man

505.1

150

Saint Kitts and Nevis

9.9

129.6

Anguilla

110

Investment to off-shore zones from Belarus

British Virgin Islands

no data

325.0

Cyprus

no data

125.6

Luxembourg

no data

25.0

Panama

no data

34.9 

Belarusian residents cooperate with non-residents from the following offshore jurisdictions: Cyprus, British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, Panama, Dominica, Gibraltar, Belize, Seychelles, Luxembourg, Isle of Man, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla. However, it is difficult to assess to what extent these offshore operations relate to money laundering.