Six Underground Bankers Busted in Russia

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) – An illegal banking ring with an annual turnover of 15 billion rubles ($500 million) that operated through the country’s postal service has been uncovered in Russia, police said on Friday.

Money was transferred through Russian Post’s electronic payment service with the help of numerous fake firms run by the ring’s operators, the Interior Ministry said.

Clients were able to cash out their illegal money transfers at a commission of 2.5 percent, the ministry said on its website.

Investigators currently have six suspects, though only two of them face arrest, police said. No names were released.

A case was opened on illegal banking charges, punishable with up to seven years in prison.

It remained unclear whether any postal employees were implicated in the alleged swindle. Russian Post, a state monopoly with a turnover of 120 billion rubles ($4 billion) in 2011, only said in a statement that it was cooperating with investigators.

Illegal financial turnover in Russia in 2011 stood at 5 trillion rubles ($165 billion), or 10 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the Interior Ministry.


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