$3.8 trillion in suspicious Russia money tranfers

Thac0man

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This is an interesting story:

NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian financial institutions reported 120 trillion roubles (2.44 trillion pounds) of suspicious transactions to the anti-money laundering watchdog in the first nine months of 2010, the Kommersant daily reported on Monday.
The article suggests that suspicious transfer of Russian money is up due to better reporting. I would endorse this view, but that suggests this flight of captal has been ongoing for a very long time. Things of course need to be exposed before they can be fixed. The astronomical figure also suggests that government and licenced commercial institutions in Russia are doing their job now.

However given the FSB is the unifying entity between both the government and private business, who is pulling against who here? $3.8 trillion in 9 months is a truely massive figure. But the intent would seem to be to clamp down on the export of Russian money abroad.

I mean we are talking about $3,800,000,000,000 in 9 months, money the Kremlin obviously thinks would be better off staying at home. A factor in this transfer is obviously money laundering. But the flight of all capital cannot be simply put down to that. There must exist in Russia a huge mistrust of licensed Russian banks or any financial institution that the Kremlin can interfere with. So the mistrust is of the Kremlin.

Is this mistrust of the Russian financial network a symptom of the treatment of Mikhail Khordorkovsky? While Putin has been busy lording it over this broken man, shuttling him from one hell hole to another; rich Russians are busy building up their empires and security abroad, out of the Kremlins reach. But the sheer volume of cash suggests that a good many key Russian businessmen, all with FSB credentials and Kremlin patronage, don't trust the hand that feeds them.

I would argue that this frankly astonishing figure presents a picture of internal Russia and its buinesses relationship with the Kremlin that is less than secure and very untrusting. Mikhail Khordorkovsky rots in some radioactive hole waiting to die while the Kremlin seized his assets. Such a winner takes all approach from the Kremlin again probably won't work. If the Kermnlin moves against the new Oligarchs, those of its own creation, an astonishing war chest of anti-Kremlin cash is available.

The idea of getting rid of the old Oligarchs was that the Kremlin would dicate the terms of government and the economy. Clearly though in creating a new era of Oligarchs who don't trust the government (that they themsevles in essence come from) new problems are on the horizon for the Kremlin.

Might we expect to see another crack down on Oligarchs and an attempt to re-establish a more loyal Oligarch base for the United Russia party? That we might assume would be the Putin way. Or will Russia go with the reforms of Medvedev and United Russia risk losing power? Both avenues could 'reform' Russian economics and indeed politics, but in very different ways.
 


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