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Wednesday 22.02.2017 | Name days: Rigonda, Adrians, Ārija

De Facto: Estonian fast loan company may have been laundering money

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAuthorities suspect that Estonian MiniCredit fast loan company was being used as a money laundering machine over the course of many years. Millions of euros went through it, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.

The programme explains that after the coming into force of new regulations regarding loans, Estonian company MiniCredit ceased its activities, as it failed to acquire a licence to continue issuing loans.

One of the former shareholders requested a repayment of a loan worth EUR 364,000. MiniCredit could not afford that once the insolvency process had commenced in Estonia, De Facto reports.

The company’s documents remain classified. «They did not cooperate. They probably have something to hide. Otherwise they would have submitted all related documents. We don’t have MiniCredit’s balance. We only have the annual account for 2014. That’s all we have,» – notes MiniCredit insolvency administrator office’s representative Kerli Kazika.

De Facto states that board and council members of MiniCredit offices in Estonia and Latvia were often the same. «The most well-known of them in Latvia is banker Rolands Petersons. A few years ago Finance and Capital Market Commission applied a fine to him and other PrivatBank board members for creating risks for the bank by performing money laundering activities. Ex-banker Valery Kargin’s son Maksim was also among them,» – De Facto reports.

The programme notes that MiniCredit’s current account was opened in Citadele Bank (previously Parex Bank). Its co-owner was Latvian MiniCredit’s former shareholder Maksim Kargin’s father.

«Citadele Bank is not among the most popular credit institutions in Estonia. But it is from there that three million euros were withdrawn over the course of three years. In 2011, the bank’s account became EUR 800,000 lighter. More than EUR 5 million was withdrawn one year later. EUR 1 million was withdrawn in 2013. Cash was withdrawn in later years as well, but in smaller amounts. It is unknown if Citadele Bank had informed authorities in time. The law prohibits reporting such information to the media,» – De Facto reports.

The programme allows that it may be a coincidence. The bank notes that its office in Estonia had been providing authorities with the necessary information over the course from 2011 to 2014.

Information available to De Facto shows that cash from Citadele Bank was withdrawn mostly by two individuals: Sergejs Dubins and Vitalijs Jarosevics. Jarosevics was once the head of both Estonian and Latvian offices of MiniCredit.

«MiniCredit had annual revenue around hundreds of thousands euros, but cash was withdrawn in the millions. That doesn’t make sense. In addition, people associated with MiniCredit have controversial reputation. I believe it was an attempt to launder money – most of it MiniCredit’s – and withdraw all of it,» – Reiljana said.

De Facto is aware that one of the people who transferred money to MiniCredit is Dmitrijs Kovals. He was once part of the management of Saules Bank. Lately he has been working as a financial consultant. Nevertheless, his name was mentioned by the media in association with international money laundering cases. Unfortunately, there was no way for De Facto to receive any commentaries from him, as he died a couple of weeks ago, the programme reports.

Opposite to his promise, MiniCredit’s former manager Vitalijs Jarosevics never responded to De Facto’s questions.

Experts interviewed by the programme allow that Jarosevics may have been a representative of a much more influential person in the aforementioned company – Estonia’s controversial businessman Kristians Kesners. Officially, he was associated with Estonian and Latvian companies from their very foundation. Kesners’ influence did not fade over time, however. De Facto is aware that Kesners had one of MiniCredit’s owned payment cards for a long time.

MiniCredit’s owned payment card was used in Estonia to pay for bills in Excellent striptease club. The card was also used to pay for activities in many of Tallinn’s night clubs. In Riga, the card was used in XXL gay club, infamous Ampir striptease club and to pay for trips to some of the world’s sunniest cities, De Facto reports.

The programme has found out that a couple of years ago Kesners declared personal insolvency. However, he continues to drive expensive cars, including Maybac. Its lease is paid be DirectCom, which is a company that is not associated with Kesners.

DirectCom is a company founded by former employees of MiniCredit. Using this company, they tried to continue business by recovering debts from MiniCredit clients.

Kesners and his business partners do not answer phone calls or e-mails.

De Facto is also aware that a criminal process has been launched in relation to the facts uncovered about MiniCredit’s insolvency process. «The prosecutor’s office can confirm that a criminal process has been launched in relation to MiniCredit. The prosecutor is unable to provide more detailed information on this topic, as it would impact the investigation,» – De Facto was told by Estonian prosecutor’s press-secretary Karela Kallasa.

Ref: 224.109.109.1486


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