MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti) – The head of Rosbank, one of Russia’s biggest banks, who was detained after a televised police raid on his office on Wednesday, has denied the accusations of bribery against him and maintains his innocence, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Russia’s Interior Ministry reported on Wednesday the police had detained Rosbank CEO Vladimir Golubkov as he accepted 5 million rubles ($160,000) of a $1.5 million bribe through an intermediary, Rosbank’s Senior Vice-President Tatiana Polyanitsyna.
“Golubkov said that he did not commit any crimes,” lawyer Dmitry Kharitonov said, adding charges had been pressed against Golubkov, which he did not specify.
The Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement on Thursday that Polyanitsyna has also been officially charged with assisting in taking a big bribe.
Investigators believe the 5 million rubles Golubkov allegedly received on Wednesday was the last installment of a kickback of more than $1 million, from a businessman who wanted to alter the terms of a loan repayment to the bank. If convicted, Golubkov faces up to seven years in prison.
Rosbank is one of Russia’s top three retail banks, servicing over 3 million private clients, according to the bank’s website. Golubkov, 48, has headed Rosbank since September 2008.
Rosbank is the Russian subsidiary of French banking giant Societe Generale, which acquired 20 percent minus one share of Rosbank in 2006 with an option to take control. In February 2008, Societe Generale exercised its option to gain a controlling stake in the bank and eventually consolidated its control to over 80 percent.
In an interview with Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Societe Generale SA Chief Executive Frederic Oudea said the situation with Golubkov would not affect the French bank’s plans in Russia and Rosbank would remain one of its driving forces.