Russia Claims Results in Crackdown on Money Laundering

The head of Russia’s financial monitoring service (Rosfinmonitoring) said on Wednesday the country had considerably reduced suspicious cash operations in the last nine months, preventing 886 billion rubles ($14 billion) from being taken into the shadow economy, Reuters reported.

Yuri Chikhanchin said dubious cash withdrawals have fallen 52% in the last nine months, adding that the amount of suspicious withdrawals abroad has fallen to 522 billion rubles in the last nine months from 1.5 trillion rubles in 2016.

A money-laundering scandal over suspicious payments totaling 200 billion euros ($220.4 billion), some of which came from Russia and flowed through a Danske Bank branch in Estonia, has triggered worldwide probes since the Danish bank admitted to the transactions last year.

Earlier in December, it was revealed the U.S. Department of Justice has stepped up its investigation into Deutsche Bank‘s role in the scandal.

Deutsche has already paid nearly $700 million in fines by New York and British regulators in a separate money laundering case involving $10 billion in so-called mirror trades from Russia, which the DoJ is still investigating.

Speaking in Parliament, Chikhanchin did not directly mention Deutsche Bank or Danske Bank but said that via the “so-called Moldavian scheme, via a Latvian bank, Estonian scheme, etc. over 1 trillion roubles were taken out (of Russia) in 2007-2014.”

In general, he said, the withdrawal of funds from Russia abroad for suspicious operations remains a problem.

“As the monitoring data shows, these operations reached their peak in 2017,” he said. “As of today, transactions have fallen by almost half and the reduction in sums of money transferred has tripled.”