(Adds Sechina’s comments after 4th paragraph)
By Tatiana Voronova
MOSCOW, June 22 (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank on Friday revoked the licence of Mosuralbank, whose investors include the ex-wife of Igor Sechin, a powerful associate of President Vladimir Putin and the head of the country’s largest oil firm Rosneft.
The central bank is cleaning up Russia’s banking sector, which has been hit by poor corporate governance practices, money laundering and sanctions. In the past five years, the central bank has shut more than 450 banks and in 2017 spent more than $40 billion bailing out three major lenders.
It said it decided to revoke the licence of Mosuralbank, ranked number 269 by assets as of June 1, as the lender had supplied the Bank of Russia with “markedly false reporting”.
“Lending and deals with individuals, connected to the beneficiaries of the lending organisation, resulted in accumulation of a substantial size of troubled assets on its balance sheet,” the central bank said in a statement.
Marina Sechina, who was divorced from the Rosneft CEO in 2011, told Reuters she owned a 2.79 percent stake in Mosuralbank at the time when the central bank decided to cancel its licence.
Sechina said she had filed a request to the central bank and law enforcement authorities to examine Mosuralbank after she learnt the lender’s founders were “at different stages of bankruptcy.”
“I support the decision made by the regulator on Mosural bank, I consider it appropriate and well-timed. I have no plans to appeal against it,” Sechina said in an email.
Neither officials from Mosuralbank, which is now under the temporary administration of the central bank, nor its founders could immediately be reached for comment.
As of late May, Sechina owned a stake in Mosuralbank through a number of regional utility companies, including Arkhenergosbyt, Vologdaenergosbyt and Roskommunenergo, according to central bank data.
There was no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Sechina in the central bank’s statement of Friday. (Additional reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Alexander Smith and Mark Potter)