Gazeta Wyborcza reports that several hundred million dollars could have been laundered through accounts at ING Bank Śląski that belonged to suspicious companies. It is about funds that came from Russia and Ukraine.
Gazeta Wyborcza writes about the money laundering scandal
Gazeta Wyborcza writes about the scandal on their website.
The case was handled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the BuzzFeed portal and 110 editorial offices from 88 countries. One of the latter was the band from Gazeta Wyborcza. The investigation lasted several months and was based on the analysis of over 2.6 thousand. secret documents from the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) – the investigative office of the US Treasury Department, as well as on other sources and dozens of interviews.
Journalists say there is a financial intermediary company in the Netherlands and hundreds of millions of dollars have passed through it. The funds went to companies located in Cyprus and in tax havens. Then the trail of money disappeared. Apparently, the trial served the oligarchs from Ukraine and Russia. The company in question is Schildershoven Finance B.V.
“A two-story, modernist pavilion in Nieuwegein, a city with a population of 60,000 in central Holland. Thai boxing center at the bottom, karate school on the side. The windows on the first floor with brown curtains attract attention. There is no sign of life from the street, the blue sign with the company name is not visible. “Sometimes I see people speaking with an Eastern European accent,” says the person next door. This inconspicuous place is a financial brokerage company through which hundreds of millions of dollars have passed to companies in Cyprus and tax havens, where the tax authorities later lost sight of them. In this way, the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs siphoned huge money from their countries. The company is called Schildershoven Finance B.V. “
– we read in “GW”.
Another company also appears in the investigation – Tristane Capital B.V. from Amsterdam. Both companies were European contractors of the so-called Moscow Mirror Network.
Schildershoven and Tristane also had settlement accounts at the Polish ING Bank Śląski.
“Both Schildershoven and Tristane had settlement accounts at the Polish ING Bank Śląski, from which, according to American financial controllers, suspicious transactions were made. Both companies were European contractors of the so-called Moscow Mirror Network. Schildershoven was buying securities for two companies – the Cypriot Serbenta and the British Ergoinvest, which in turn laundered Russian rubles. For this practice, in 2017, Deutsche Bank, which carried out these transactions, had to pay 630 million dollars in fines imposed by British and American financial regulators “
– journalists from “GW”, Bartosz Chyż, Hubert Orzechowski and Michał Kokot add in their joint article.
Schildershoven came under the scrutiny of the American bank JP Morgan Chase in 2014. US experts suspected the entity of laundering funds.
“FinCEN documents, which were read by“ Wyborcza ”, indicate that ING Bank Śląski could have been used in a similar way in 2013-14. At the time [spółka] Schildershoven was his client, and FinCEN warned in reports about suspicious transactions that go through the accounts of this Polish bank. It is possible that the cooperation between ING Śląski and Schildershoven lasted longer – the current director of the Dutch company Vladislavs Zaharovs claims that until 2018 it had business relations with the bank. The last of the known + Wyborcza + suspicious operations, which FinCEN watched, took place in 2016. “
– adds the journal.
Apparently, ING Bank Śląski does not want to comment on the scandal today.
Financing criminals and terrorists
Then it gets even more interesting. Although the cryptocurrency market is often associated with a space that allows criminals to be supported, this time the culprits are members of the banking system.
“The internal reports of FinCEN, which were received by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the BuzzFeed portal, show that at least some of the money laundered by the Moscow Mirror Network went to criminal organizations.
Among them was Altaf Khanani’s network, which in July this year. he ended a five-year sentence in an American prison. Pakistani worked for Colombian and Mexican cartels, as well as for the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. Khanani’s attorney refuses to speak on his behalf, explaining this with his client’s poor health.
About $ 10 billion was diverted from the Moscow Mirror Network scandal. Igor Putin, a cousin of the Russian president Vladimir Putin, who sits in the governing bodies of several Russian banks, and Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, oligarchs who are friends with the Russian president and are subject to US sanctions, were also involved in it.
According to FinCEN reports, Ergoinvest played a key role in this. It was she who was a client of Schildershoven. In 2014, almost USD 307 million was transferred to the Ergoinvest account from the Schildershoven account at ING Bank Śląski. All 76 transactions bore the enigmatic “payment as agreed” title.
Ergoinvest LLP is a facade company incorporated in the town of Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, UK. At least 140 companies listed in FinCEN reports are registered at the same address. In addition to the address, they are also connected by the fact that they enjoy the privileges created for them by British law – weaker control and ease of concealing the real owner or owners
– we read on.
“Revenues from killer drug wars, fortunes (gained) at the expense of developing nations, and hardly saved money stolen from financial pyramids – all were allowed to be transferred to and from these financial institutions“
– lists BuzzFeed News.
The portal adds that “suspicious payments circulated all over the world (…), from the world of international sports to Hollywood, luxury real estate and sushi restaurants“.
Banks allegedly acted as an intermediary in suspicious transactions worth over $ 2 trillion in 1999-2017.
BuzzFeed also claims that the documents it holds “Show the essential truth of the present day”:
“The networks through which dirty money circulates around the world have become vital arteries in the global economy. They enable the existence of a gray financial system so vast and out of control that it has become inseparable from the so-called legal economy “
– we read.
How could this have happened in Poland?
“GW” reminds that the prevention of money laundering in Poland should be the General Inspector of Financial Information (GIFI) under the Ministry of Finance. The daily claims that it did not find out from this entity whether it had already become interested in ING Bank Śląski.
“The GIFI report for 2014, i.e. the period analyzed by us, shows that in that year, 3 thousand jobs were registered in Poland. 637 suspicious transactions. Some of them contained descriptions of up to several hundred transfers. However, there are no descriptions of specific cases – only interested parties are informed about them.
In 2018, the GIFI received 4 thousand. 100 suspicious transaction reports. In addition, over 35 million so-called above-threshold transactions, i.e. over 15,000 euro (such transfers are of interest to the services). Ok. 10 percent of them were transfers abroad “
– journalists add.
Probably the scandal also affects other countries in our region.
– It is doubtful that criminals operated only in the Baltic states, and not in Poland – said “GW” Dr. Louise Shelley of the US George Mason University, an expert in money laundering, financing organized crime and terrorism.