Russia's Gazprombank, the third largest bank in the country, is planning to execute its first test deals with cryptocurrencies later this year via its subsidiary in Switzerland, reports Russian media. According to deputy chief executive Alexander Sobol, the bank doesn't currently have plans for massive introduction of the feature, but is looking into it due to existing demand from some of its major clients.
"It's going to be test deals. Not major ones, just for ourselves. Some of our major clients are interested in such services, so we are currently looking into the possibilities of how to organize it," Sobol said.
He noted that the bank has not yet determined whether it is going to offer such options for its clients or just for its own investments. According to the deputy CEO, the Swiss subsidiary was chosen due to the rather "liberal" legislation in that country regarding cryptocurrencies. Russia doesn't, at present, have any laws regulating cryptocurrencies, but their development is currently underway.
Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA announced on February 1, 2018 that Gazprombank's subsidiary in Switzerland was banned from accepting new private clients due to flaws in the institution's system of money laundering prevention that existed between 2006 and 2016. The bank accepted FINMA's decision, but noted that a significant part of the period, studied during investigation, relates to the time before bank was acquired by Gazprombank in 2009 and rebranded Gazprombank Switzerland Ltd.