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Four bankers guilty of aiding “Putin’s purse” Roldugin convicted in Zurich

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Four executives from Gazprombank Switzerland, a subsidiary of Russia's Gazprombank which has since ceased operations, have been found guilty by a Zurich court for enabling cellist Sergei Roldugin to transfer millions of francs through Swiss accounts. The bank officials were charged with “negligence in financial transactions.”

The prosecution stated that the managers had been aware of Sergei Roldugin's beneficial ownership of International Media Overseas SA and Med Media Network Ltd, yet they failed to exercise due diligence while opening their accounts. The firms were used to channel millions of Swiss francs from Russia, with the sole intention of diverting the funds to Roldugin's offshore companies, where he was the beneficiary. This information was revealed in the indictment, which has been made available to The Insider.

According to the Zurich prosecutor's office, the bankers were expected to be aware of the identity of their client. However, during the investigation, the folder for Roldugin only contained a printout from the Mariinsky Theater website and the musician's autobiography. This suggests that the bankers were aware that Roldugin was managing profits worth millions of dollars without being involved in any business activities, as he himself had acknowledged in interviews. The prosecution argues that “if [Roldugin's] professional activities are to be taken into account, then the… financial flows could not be reliably perceived as his personal funds.”

Prosecutor Jan Hoffmann stated that the bankers had a responsibility to inquire about the sources of Roldugin's income, but they failed to do so. Additionally, the prosecution believed that the bankers should have acknowledged that Roldugin was a “politically exposed person” at the time of opening the account, given that it was publicly known that Roldugin was a close associate of President Putin and even the godfather of his daughter.

As the indictment specifically states, “It is widely known that President Putin officially earns around 100,000 francs and is not wealthy, yet he manages vast funds that are controlled by people close to him.” Based on this information, the bankers should have requested a detailed explanation from Roldugin regarding the origin of the money.

The court concurred with the prosecution and imposed fines of 540,000, 48,000, 63,000, and 90,000 francs on the managers. The fines were granted with a two-year deferment, implying that the managers will not have to pay the fine if they do not commit any further violations during this period.

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