MOSCOW, June 28 (RAPSI) – Moscow police have apprehended a group of fake bankers who have cashed more than 7 billion rubles ($210 million), the Interior Ministry reported Friday.
"According to law enforcement officials, the majority of the bankers concerned are nationals of Turkey and Syria who have been operating in Russia since 2011 without a banking license," the statement reads.
The illegal network comprised more than 10 shell firms where cash settlement, cashing and money transfer operations were performed under agency contracts phrased as contracts of payment for goods and services, signed with individuals and corporate clients, police said.
The criminals allegedly used the following scheme to transfer money abroad: Clients brought their money to a bank in Moscow and later claimed it from one of the fake bankers in Istanbul, personally or via authorized representatives.
However, the money never moved anywhere. The settlements were made between the parties based on one of the informal settlement systems widely used in Muslim countries.
Part of the cash that the fake bankers received from such "international transfers" was also used to make settlements with Moscow businesspeople who unknowingly used their services, the statement said. The criminals purportedly charged between 0.5 percent and 6 percent per transaction.
The police have searched 18 offices and residential properties of the people involved and confiscated the Bank-Client electronic system of remote access to the settlement accounts of corporate clients, off-the-book accounting records, the stamps and instruments of incorporation of the shell companies, including those registered in offshore tax havens, as well as more than 40 million rubles ($1.2 million) in cash.