Four bankers convicted – trial for “Putin’s wallet” in Switzerland

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Four bankers convicted – trial for “Putin’s wallet” in Switzerland

Four bankers have been found guilty by a Swiss appeals court in connection with the management of funds linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The employees of a subsidiary of Gazprom Bank in Zurich were unable to identify the real account holder.

Russian musician Sergei Roldugin was listed as the beneficial owner of the account, which was opened in 2014. According to media reports, the cellist and conductor is also the godfather of one of Putin’s daughters. Shortly after the Russian attack on Ukraine, he was placed on the Swiss sanctions list. According to the list, Roldugin is known in Moscow as ‘Putin’s wallet’.

Where did the unknown singer get so much money?
Two of the three judges voted for a guilty verdict. They concluded that the defendants deliberately failed to verify who was the ultimate owner of the accounts filled with dividends from a Russian media company. Based on the dividend payments, Roldugin’s interest in the media company must have been worth more than 100 million francs (about 104 million euros), according to the chairman.

Until 2016, Roldugin was largely unknown. “Even in St. Petersburg you can’t make that much money quickly. Clarification would have been necessary.” The judge did not find the claim that the investment in the media company was financed with wages and loans a plausible explanation. “This could indicate straw man financing,” the ruling said.

Conditional fines imposed
However, the trial was not about whether the funds came from an illegal source or who they belonged to, but solely about the fact that the bank employees had breached their audit obligations. Suspended fines of up to 330,000 francs (approximately 344,000 euros) were imposed on the defendants. Appeals to the Federal Court, Switzerland’s highest court, are still possible.

Source: Krone

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