Credexbank to issue denial of accusation of money laundering

Credexbank is holding a consultation with the National Bank of Belarus for the purpose of “order of contacting the US Department of the Treasury” with the aim of denying the information unveiled, Aliaksandr Aksianevich, Credex General Director, told journalists.

On May 22, 2012 The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the identification of Belarus-based JSC CredexBank (Credex) as “a financial institution of primary money laundering concern.”

Treasury “has reason to believe that Credex has engaged in high volumes of transactions that are indicative of money laundering on behalf of shell corporations, and has a history of ownership by shell corporations whose own lack of transparency contributes to considerable uncertainty surrounding Credex’s true beneficial ownership.”

“For example, in a two-month period in 2010, information made available to the USG shows that Credex transferred more than $1 billion to hundreds of shell corporations in multiple jurisdictions—a substantial amount of wire activity for a bank of Credex’s size. Although Credex wire transaction customers during this period were mostly parties sending money from Credex accounts, there were no observable corresponding inflows, which one would expect at a legitimate commercial bank,” the press release runs.

“This action seeks to protect the U.S. financial system from a foreign financial institution whose highly suspicious transaction patterns and pervasive lack of transparency make it virtually impossible to discern whether the bank is engaged in any legitimate business. Credex’s apparent lack of even basic anti-money laundering practices and procedures puts U.S. financial institutions at risk,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.

According to the information of American financial authorities, since its founding in September 2001, Credex’s ownership has passed from one shell corporation to another. Credex’s original registered owner, Ximex, in London, United Kingdom, shares the same mailing address as another firm whose primary activities are formation and servicing of international business companies, as well as tax and financial planning. Since October 2009, Credex has been owned by Vicpart Holding SA (Vicpart), based in Fribourg, Switzerland. Its supervisory board is headed by Sarkis Simavoryan. The significant inconsistencies and gaps in publicly available information about Vicpart raise concerns about the true nature and purpose of Credex’s owner. Vicpart shares the same address as more than 200 other companies, a fact that is troubling given that international banking standards identify the sharing of an address by multiple businesses as a red flag for shell corporation activity.

The Vicpart website is currently inaccessible to the public. Prior to its shutdown, the website stated that the purpose of the company is the management of financial, industrial, and commercial participation, as well as real estate operation. Separately, a global business registry indicates that Vicpart is registered as a joint stock company whose primm’y line of business is investment management. However, Credex is listed as its only holding. These suspicious characteristics surrounding the company are even more concerning in light of allegations that two former Vicpart directors may have been involved in financial crimes.

According to Credexbank web site, on November 30, 2011 the bank had more than 400 customers, its charter capital amounted to 150 393 985 500 BYR. Vicpart Holding SA possesses 98.82 % of Credex stock. Credexbank’s beneficial owner is Michel Haessing (Switzerland) More 1.18% of shares belong to CJSC Sentekinvest.

JSC CredexBank (“Credex”) is a depository institution located and licensed in the Republic of Belarus that primarily services corporate entities. Originally established on September 27, 2001, as Nordic Investment Bank Corporation by Ximex Executive Limited (“Ximex”),78 the bank changed its name to Northern Investment Bank on April 5,2006, and then to the current name of JSC CredexBank on February 12, 2007. Credex is 96.82% owned by Vicpart Holding SA, based in Fribourg, Switzerland. With 169 employees and a total capitalization of approximately $19 million, the bank currently ranks as the 22nd largest in total assets among 31 commercial banks in Belarus.

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