ArmInfo. <Look, I'm not an angel. In Russia, you have three ways: to be a revolutionist, to leave the country, or to be a conformist. So here I am - conformist>. The well-known Russian entrepreneur, former head of the Troika Dialog investment company, philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan told this in an interview with reporters of the OCCRP , which conducts journalst investigations in developing countries.
Vardanyan, who led the company until 2013 and then sold it to Sberbank, was at the center of an offshore scandal investigated by investigator journalists.
According to the Russian Meduza publication , Vardanyan built the first investment bank in Russia, Troika Dialog, and received many awards and prizes for doing business according to high ethical standards. However, simultaneously with the main activity <Troika> created a whole system of offshore companies through which money was secretly transferred to the most influential people in Russia, for example, to Vladimir Putin's friend Sergei Roldugin, the newspaper writes. Over several years, through the accounts of these companies more than 4.5 billion dollars have passed. The money came, in particular, from companies that were involved in criminal cases of money laundering, cashing or the illegal withdrawal of billions of rubles from Russia. In 2012, Troika was sold to Sberbank.
In the conversation, Ruben Vardanyan did not deny that Troika Dialog used foreign companies for doing business, which had accounts in various banks, including Lithuanian Ukio (considered to be the main intermediary bank closed by Lithuanian authorities in 2013). According to him, Troika cooperated with approximately 20 such banks.
When asked why the companies and their bank accounts in Ukio were registered in denominations, Vardanyan said that these were technical service companies. According to Ruben Vardanyan, in all cases the clients' funds have already been accepted by the European bank, which carried out all the necessary procedures, and the bank did not doubt origin of the funds.
"Foreign banks still use similar practice" explained the financier. <I want to emphasize: we acted according to the rules that existed at the time on the global financial market. Obviously, the rules are changing, and to measure the previous market with today's laws is like applying new standards of compliance (literally, action according to a request or indication - Ed. note) to a business during the Great Depression>.
Vardanyan also assures that <Troika Dialog>knew its customers. Among them there were no people to whom at that time law enforcement agencies could have questions. "I have no information that Troika Dialog companies received funds from firms that were mentioned in the Magnitsky case, appeared in a fraudulent scheme for trading in fuel at Sheremetyevo airport or in a criminal case on Rosgosstrakh money withdrawal," he said.
The financier also noted that the total turnover of the Troika Dialog group in those years exceeded two trillion rubles and he could not know about all transactions across the company.
Ruben Vardanyan refused to comment on the businesses of his clients in <Troika Dialog> , but stated that his company had never dealt with cellist Sergei Roldugin (V.Putin's friend, who in the West is accused of laundering large sums - ed. note). According to Vardanyan, <Troika> could fulfill another client's order to transfer money to the accounts of the musician's companies.
According to a board member of one of the Russian banks, who agreed to speak with OCCRP on condition of anonymity, every rich or super-rich person has such structures, and not only from Russia. < The whole world lives so. All rich people have money formed in the host country, but there is a part of the income hidden from the tax authorities. But there is always a fine line between legal practices to minimize taxes and illegal activities, money laundering.
Ruben Vardanyan himself asked whether the "Troika" provided for its influential clients with the public image of the company and its personal ethical standards, contradicted the client-oriented approach is one of the key business principles.
"Look, I am not an angel," Vardanyan said. - In Russia, you have three ways: to be a revolutionist, to leave the country or to be a conformist. So here I am - the conformist. But I have my own internal restraints: I did not participate in mortgage auctions, did not work with criminals, did not belong to any political parties. That is why, even in the 1990s, I had no guard. And I'm trying to preserve myself and my principles. It is not necessary to attribute to me false motives of "remorse", especially in relation to my friends and partners. We have no need to defend ourselves>.
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