Kremlin Dismisses Troika Dialog Money-Laundering Allegations

(Bloomberg) -- The Kremlin dismissed allegations that billions of dollars were laundered through the former Russian investment bank Troika Dialog, saying there was nothing new in reports by a network of investigative journalists.

“This investigation is very confusing and some episodes mentioned in it are quite old,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Monday on a conference call, in the first Kremlin comments on the claims. Some allegations are untrue or presented in a distorted way and the reports “contain nothing particularly novel,” he said.

The Bank of Russia hasn’t responded to a request to comment on allegations by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project last week that the bank co-founded by Ruben Vardanyan exported about $4.8 billion between 2006 and 2013 using a network of at least 75 offshore companies. While Vardanyan wasn’t accused personally of wrongdoing, he was president, chief executive officer and chairman of Troika during this period as well as its principal partner.

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He said in an open letter on Thursday that the reports dubbed the Troika Laundromat by the OCCRP contained “total inaccuracies, information taken completely out of context, interpretations and pure inventions,” without elaborating. Vardanyan helped found Troika in 1991 and he and his partners sold Russia’s oldest investment bank for $1 billion in 2012 to state-owned Sberbank, which paid them another $400 million the following year.

The amount of money sent offshore from Russia has been halved since 2016 as a result of tighter oversight of banks, Putin said at a meeting Monday with Federal Financial Monitoring Service Director Yury Chikhanchin, according to a Kremlin transcript.

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