Russian funds go offshore

  • 2009-07-23
  • From wire reports
RIGA - Approximately RUB 300 billion (6.68 bln euros) were whisked out of Russia to accounts in offshore countries so far this year, passing through Baltic banks, show Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring) records, reports news agency LETA. The banks in the Baltic countries are main transit channels for such transactions, said Rosfinmonitoring.

"The days of taking the money out of the country in wagons are gone. Few of the Latvian banks have a branch in Russia, though Lithuanian and Estonian banks are better represented there. If there is a bank to blame for the Russian capital moving offshore, then it is Russian banks," stressed the president of the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks Teodors Tverijons, speaking with Latvian daily Dienas Bizness.
"These [countries] have always been part of the capital export channels," suggests URALSIB analyst Leonid Slipcenko. "In the current situation, when there is an acute scarcity of liquidity, this problem is becoming even more topical." He believes that this capital drain might bring about fresh administrative action, which would not exclude political interference.

"If the state has no interest in [domestic] investment, then there is no way to prevent the outflow of capital. If the Baltic channel was to be closed, the Mongolian channel will be opened," believes Associate Professor at the Economic High School Victor Springels.