Drug dealers laundered money through bookmakers

In Russia, they began to actively use the so-called Moldovan scheme, which allows money to be laundered and taken out of the country. Paradoxically, the scheme is protected by law; it is impossible to resist it. In 2020 alone, billions of rubles flowed abroad. Lenta.ru looked into these financial frauds and remembered other unusual ways to hide the movement of capital.

The fact that a money laundering scheme, protected from all sides by law, is operating in Russia became known on February 3. In fact, it is legal, since its key link is the Federal Bailiff Service (FSSP).

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The scheme is simple and effective. There are two fictitious companies - Russian and foreign. They sign an agreement for the provision of certain services or for the purchase and sale of some goods. The contract also stipulates the conditions for resolving conflicts - through arbitration courts or by concluding settlement agreements.

The Russian company does not fulfill the contract (for example, does not supply goods purchased by a foreign enterprise), the foreign company goes to court for a penalty or debt. Then our organization agrees with the plaintiff’s demands and prepares to pay the money.

The court issues a writ of execution to the foreign company, and it submits it to the FSSP. The bailiffs have no choice but to comply with the court's decision. Money flows to a foreign bank.

Of course, both companies - resident and non-resident - acted in the interests of one beneficiary. Someone who wanted to launder money and get it out of Russia. It is noteworthy that he knows about the problem, but cannot solve it - each participant in the scheme at his own level (court, FSSP, bank) does not have the authority to stop the scammers. According to the regulator, in 2020 this scheme helped siphon 16 billion rubles out of the country (10 percent of the total volume of questionable transactions).

The scheme is called Moldavian, since it was in this republic of the former USSR that it was successfully applied. In 2012-2014, 23 billion dollars of Russian origin were laundered through Moldova in this way.

Photo: Sergey Savostyanov / TASS

Many interesting financial schemes came to light after the Central Bank began actively clearing the banking sector of unscrupulous players.

At the end of 2013, Master Bank fell under the heavy hand of Elvira Nabiullina. The credit institution seemed unshakable: it had high ratings, had been operating in the market for more than 20 years, and was one of the hundred largest banks in Russia (asset size was over 75 billion rubles).

Nevertheless, Master Bank was a laundry for its owners. Top managers used low-level employees to withdraw funds. Cleaners and security guards were given fictitious loans worth up to five million euros. The employee was promised that the debt would remain on paper, they promised him a bonus, and he signed the documents. The managers took money from the bank and kept it for themselves. Formally, the debt hung on the bank’s balance sheet and on some cleaning lady.

The regulator noticed that the bank was carrying out questionable transactions on a large scale and revoked its license. The affected investors must be paid compensation in the amount of 47 billion rubles. The Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) inquired about the debtors of Master Bank and came across ordinary employees with multimillion-dollar loans. In addition, the DIA discovered several dozen VIP clients who claimed to have kept large sums in the bank. But the documents about depositing funds into the accounts were missing. Apparently, this money was also embezzled by the owners of the financial institution.

The schemers fled, breaking the law about a hundred times and carrying out dubious transactions amounting to 200 billion rubles. The DIA has so far been unsuccessfully trying to seize their property worth almost 25 billion rubles, as well as repay loans from the cleaners and security guards of Master Bank.


The fraudulent scheme is associated with the implementation of writs of execution. Newly registered legal entities open bank accounts, after which funds from other legal entities begin to flow into their accounts, most often “as payment for consulting services.”

After this, banks receive genuine writs of execution issued by both regional courts of general jurisdiction and district courts - for the enforcement of court decisions, according to which large sums of money are collected from these accounts in favor of individuals.

At the same time, the management of the companies that opened the account does not challenge the legality of the writs of execution, and also does not contact credit institutions. As a result, hundreds of millions of rubles pass through the accounts of legal entity clients. At the same time, banks have no formal grounds for refusing to carry out transactions based on genuine writs of execution.

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