Swiss bankers on trial for transferring millions to Putin’s aide

8 March, 06:00 PM
Putin called Roldugin his close friend (Photo:Ivan Sekretarev/Pool/File Photo/Reuters)

Putin called Roldugin his close friend (Photo:Ivan Sekretarev/Pool/File Photo/Reuters)

The trial of four bankers who may have helped transfer millions of francs to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's close friend, cellist Sergei Roldugin, has begun in Switzerland, Reuters reported on March 8.

Prosecutors say Roldugin received millions through Swiss bank transfers without any proper bank checks between 2014 and 2016, despite being under sanctions.

The bankers are accused of lacking due diligence in conducting financial transactions and failing to establish the identity of the beneficiary of the funds.

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The bankers — three Russians working in Zurich and one Swiss citizen — denied the charges against them at the court hearing. Their names cannot be revealed due to a Swiss publication ban.

According to reports, Roldugin had two accounts at Gazprombank Switzerland in 2014. They received millions of francs from Russia. Both accounts were closed in 2016.

The musician himself claimed that he was certainly not a businessman and was not the owner of the millions, the indictment says.

The prosecutors' document states that the Kremlin uses people like Roldugin as “strawmen” to hide the real owners of the accounts. They add that Putin officially has an income of 100,000 Swiss francs ($106,283) a year. At the same time, his inner circle manages huge assets.

Media note that the cellist has at least five offshore companies, and he is part of Putin's financial structure.

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