Russian Customs Uncover Hong Kong Currency Transfer Scam

BARNAUL, June 14 (RAPSI) – A company in Russia’s Altai Region illegally transferred nearly $12 million to Hong Kong as a payment for a fictitious business deal, customs agents said on Friday.

Last year, the unnamed 25-year-old general director of a company registered in Novoaltaisk signed a contract for delivery of construction materials with a Hong Kong firm.

“A foreign currency account was opened and two transaction certificates were issued. Within two months, the company transferred $11.9 million abroad. That is over 388 million rubles at the Central Bank exchange rate,” customs officers said in a statement.

The contract was to be completed by May 1, 2013, but no materials have been delivered from Hong Kong to date.

The office of the Russian Customs Service in Hong Kong reported that the firm with which the contract was signed is not registered in Hong Kong.

A criminal case has been opened on charges of failing to return a large amount of foreign currency to Russia, which is punishable by up to three years in prison.

In February, the then head of Russia’s central bank, Sergei Ignatyev, said Russia was losing at least 600 billion rubles ($20 billion) annually from illegal money transfer scams.

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