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© RIA Novosti. Iliya Pitalev

Russia revokes major Russian bank’s operating license

by RIA Novosti at 20/11/2013 12:21

The operating license of a major Russian bank has been revoked for false data reporting, low-quality loans and loss of capital, Russia’s central bank said on Wednesday.

Master Bank, the 41st largest bank in Russia in terms of deposits by individuals, has also been involved in questionable financial operations and failed to properly combat money laundering, the Bank of Russia, the nation’s central bank, said in a press release.

Russia’s Deposit Insurance Agency said that clients’ financial assets in the bank are insured and customers will be able to begin to withdraw money from their accounts no later than December 4.

Master Bank branches in Moscow are closed and its ATMs are not functioning due to a “technical error,” Prime news agency reported.

Master Bank officials have been unavailable for comment.

Master Bank held 47.3 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) in private deposits as of October 1 and 80.9 billion rubles ($2.5 billion) in assets as of November 1, according to RIA Novosti’s rating agency. It is one of the country’s top five banks by the number of ATMs and bank cards issued.

Several senior executives and the former vice president for corporate banking at Master Bank were arrested last year for money laundering as part of a large-scale investigation by Russia’s Interior Ministry.

Investigators raided the homes of several Master Bank officials, including the board chairman Boris Bulochnik.

Bulochnik and his family collectively controlled about 85 percent of the shares in Master Bank.

A cousin of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Igor Putin, was vice president of Master Bank in 2010 before stepping down after only a few months. He now serves on the bank’s board of directors.

Master Bank, founded in 1992, has over 2,000 employees and 115 offices across Russia.

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