Putin’s cellist – economy – SZ.de

“Considerable and in-depth need for clarification”: These four words can be found several times in the indictment of the Zurich public prosecutor’s office, which is directed against four managers of the Swiss subsidiary of the Russian Gazprombank. All four, including the CEO and two executives, did not exercise due diligence in financial transactions, the investigators write, although there was quite a need for clarification.

Because one of her clients for several years was Sergej Roldugin, a famous Russian cellist and conductor – but above all and known to be a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is notorious that Russian President Putin officially has an income of just over 100,000 francs and is not wealthy, but actually has enormous assets that are managed by people close to him,” writes the public prosecutor’s office in the publication that has only just become known Indictment from November 2022. Sergei Roldugin is considered such a person – at least since the publication of the “Panama Papers” 2016, based on data from a Panamanian offshore service provider that was leaked to the SZ. Roldugin is said not only to be friends with Putin and his daughter’s godfather, but also the straw man who manages parts of the enormous presidential fortune.

The story that Zurich prosecutors are now bringing to court concerns two accounts opened in 2014 at the Swiss Gazprombank. The beneficial owner in both cases: Sergei Roldugin. Even then, according to the Zurich public prosecutor’s office, there were indications of Roldugin’s closeness to Putin, which the bankers at the Swiss Gazprombank should have followed up. In the course of the business relationship, which lasted until 2016, there were several additional indications, according to the indictment, that Roldugin may not be the actual beneficial owner of the accounts – but the accused continued to authorize the continuation of the accounts, through which millions of dollars flowed over the course of two years. For this lack of diligence in financial transactions, the public prosecutor’s office is now demanding a conditional prison sentence of seven months for each of the accused.

The thing about that first the Mirror and the Swiss Tamedia newspapers reported sounds complicated and fragmented. But the case, which will come before the Zurich district court on March 8, is believed to touch on the methods Putin is using to secure his political and financial power. The proceedings in Zurich could shed light on a building block in this construct.

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