January 1996, A New York Times investigation already denounced some ways in which swindled royalties on FERRAYE's patents, have been laundered in hundreds of billions of dollars, with the complicity of the Federal Reserve (FED) and the US Government. The responsability of the United States is thus involved for Thousands of billion dollarsInvestigation by Robert I. Friedman published on22 janvier 1996Every day, the Russian mob gets a shipment of up to a billion dollars in fresh USD 100.- bills. The money flown out of JFK Airport, comes straight from the U.S. Federal Reserve... Five nights a week, at least USD 100 million in crisp new USD 100 bills is flown from JFK nonstop to Moscow, where it is used to finance the Russian mob's vast and growing international crime syndicate. State and federal officials believe it is part of a multi-billion dollar money-laudering operation. The Republic National Bank [SAFRA]and the United States Federal Reserve prefer not to think so.(Investigation by Robert I. Friedman).
Owner of the Republic National Bank of New York, the banker Edmond Safra was murdered on 03.12.1999.He was then the friend of the Geneva lawyer Marc BONNANT who
who drafted the criminal complaint of January 29, 1996 that had helped to sequestrate the trillions of dollars swindled on the royalties on the sale of patents FERRAYE.
A few minutes later, another armored truck rolls up and unloads another series of even larger bags. In total, this flight will carry about 2'300 pounds of USD 100 bills, or USD 100 million.The plane departs JFK at 5:45 P.M. Trhoughout the flight, an unarmed courrier for the Republic National Bank of New York unwinds in the passenger cabin while the money "sits all by its lonesome" in the cargo hold, according to one law-enforcement source. Upon arrival at sheremetyevo airport at 10:55 A.M. Moscow time, the money is transported by more armored trucks to Russian banks, which have puchased the USD 100 bills on behalf of clients, who typically pay for the cash with wire transfers from London bank accountsRather remarkably, no one has ever tried to hijack Delta Flight 30, even though it has left JFK at the same time five days a week - rarely carrying less than USD 100 million and sometimes more than USD 1 billion - for more than two years, since January 1994, federal authorities estimate more than USD 40 billion - all in uncirculated USD 100 bills, hundreds of tons of cash - was shipped to Russia. That far exceeds the total value of all the Russian rubles in circulation. All that money has remained safe only partly because of security: another reason is that anybody who might be inclined to pull off such a heist ist also well aware of who is buying all those USD bills. « If you rip off Russian banks, you rip off the Russian mob" says one Mafia source here in the United States ». « And no one's got big enough balls or a small enough brain to do that ».The Russian mob – according to numerous well-placed law-enforcement sources interviewed by New York – has been using an unimpeded supply of freshly minted Federal Reserve notes to finance a vas and growing international crime syndicate. American C-notes are the unofficial currency of Russia, of course, and can get things done there that rubles cannot: but the hundreds are also being used to fuel the Russian mob's flourishing dollar-based global drug trade, as well as to buy the requisite villas in Monaco and Cannes. The Russian Mafiya has also used laudered funds to set up operations abroad, including its American offshoot in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach (The Organizatsiya", New York, November 7, 1994) and has begun investing in legitimate businesses across Europe and in the United States.The Russian mob's monstrous growth has been aided considerably by its ability to quickly and easily launder its dirty criminal proceeds into clean - and now supposedly counterfeit-proof - U.S. hundreds Russian banks have been eager to assist, which is not terribly surprising given that a good number are owned outright by Russian mobsters. "Almost all Russian banks are corrupt", Major General Alex GROMOV of the Russian tax police told a september 1994 international conference on Russian organized crime co-sponsored by Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which tracks money laudering for the U.S. Treasury. Fincen director Stanley Morris is more blunt today : « Russia's banking system is a cesspool ».In fact, the Russian banking system, little over six years old, has already become one of the wold's leading money-laudering centers, replacing Panama as the favored dirty-currency exchange of the Colombian cartel and the Italian Mafia. A 1994 CIA report identified ten of the largest Russian banks as mobbed-up fronts. And in his speech to the United Nations last October, President CLINTON declared Money laudering a threat to national security. "Criminal enterprises are moving vas sums of ill-gotten gains through the international financial system with absolute impunity", he said, signing a presidential directive ordering the attorney general and the Treasury to identify individuals and organizations involved in global financial crime and seize their assets here and abroad.So then why are Republic National Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve continuing to supply millions of crisp, clean USD 100 bills to banks that so many money-laudering experts agree are tainted ? « Republic's guilty of willful blindness, though not in technical violation of any existing law », says a former New York State Banking Department official. « That money is used to support organized crime; it's used to support blackmarket operations », agrees an official at the federal Comptroller of the Currency office, which regulates Republic. « In my personal opinion, this is an absolute abomination. It should not exist. Yet it appears that at least part of the federal government sees nothing wrong with it ».
A provision in the 1992 Annunzio WYLIE Anti-Money Laudering Act requires banks to make sure that they're not knowingly doing business with criminal or their agents. For the record, the Republic National Bank [SAFRA], which makes millions off the currency sales, insists it s certainly not knowingly selling USD 100 bills to mobsters.« That's my responsibility, to make sure we don't sell to the banks that have organized-crime tics", says Richard ANNICHARICO, one of Republic's compliance officials. "That's the hardest thing to find. In fact, if you know of any, let me know ».And the U.S. Treasury, which makes USD 99.96 off of any USD 100 bill that leaves the country and never comes back, is similarly, blissfully ignorant. « What do we know of Republic's customers ?" says New York Fed spokesman Peter Bakstansky. "We don't. It's their responsibility to know who they are sending it to ».« I've run out of places to check", says Republic's ANNICHARICO, a retired FBI agent. « someone tells me [the banks are corrupt] and gives me substantial reason why - you know, anything, really - we don't sell to them. I mean, anybody who tells us not to, we'll stop them tomorrow ».ANNICHARICO acknowledges that a federal money-laundering task force had contacted him about Republic's currency trade with Russia. « The task force told me that they think Russian organized crime is involved in money laudering. But so what ? » he says. « Who ? What ? Who ? No one's been prosecuted. What's the crime ? Tell me - I'll stop. I always tell them, Tell me which banks, and we'll stop I can't find them. I'm not being facetious ».When the SOVIET UNION FELL apart in 1991, so did the entire government-controlled banking system. Replacing the government banks were private institutions chartered and supposedly regulated by the new Russian Central bAnk. But as Major General GROMOV told the international conference, the application to charter a new bank typically consisted of making a USD 100'000 bribe to a banking official. « A grossly underregulated banking sector sprang up virtually overnight », says Harward economist Jeffrey Sachs. « Now you have 2'000 banks, many of which are deeply undercapitalized, and therefore everything is possible ».The mob saw the possibilities. Also known as the VOROVSKOI MIR, or Thieves' Wjorld, a loose federation of Soviet mobsters immediately grasped that the end of Communism heralded a glorious new world criminal order. By 1992, crime was the only growth industry in Russia, with illicit cartels controlling as much as 40 percent of the nations's wealth; the country had become, in the words of one former CIA director, a "Kleptocracy". And having conquered Russia, the VOROVSKOI MIR was eager to expand.On July 2, 1993, two chartered jets touched down in Yerevan, the capital of the former Soviet republic or Armenia, and disgorged a panoply of wiseguys from the United States, Germany, Turkey, Italy and South America. They had been called there by Rafik SVO, « the gangster equivalent of an international diplomat », according to Russian organized-crime expert Stephen HANDELMAN. SVO was determined to bring order and mutual prosperity to the thieves' World by ending bloody turf wars and forging alliances with the Sicilian Mafia, the Brighton Beach gang, and Colombian drug lords, all of which sent emissaries. At the meeting it was decided that the Russian banking system, new and vulnerable, would be used to launder funds, make favorable loans to "friends", and supplant Zürich as a haven for dirty money. The big joke at the Armenian conclave was, « Why rob a bank when you can own one » ? (At another 1993 summit, between Russian and Sicilian mobsters in Prague, the Russians agreed to launder Mafia drug profits in exchange for a franchise on choice narcotics-smuggling routes through central Asia. Then, last January (1996) in Puerto Rico, a third super summit was called to settle increasingly internecine battles and to carve up the Russian drug trade. Shortly before the meeting. a Russian banker in New York was overheard on an FBI wiretap saying he was going to Puerto Rico « to discuss who we will kill »).Russia, not exactly unschooled in the ways of corruption, quickly took to the new system; politicians, cops, and government bureaucrats joined the fold. The country was already awash in dirty money, and not just as a result of traditional organized-crime activities. Soviet generals ransacked military arsenals and sold them to shadowy arms dealers or even shadowier terrorists. (just last month, Admiral German UNGRYUMOV warned that the Russian Mafiya was looting weapons from the Russian Pacific Fleet's arms depot in Vladivostok, after security agents arrested a navy officer and confiscated nine pounds of platic explosive and a large quantity of armmunitions). U.S. officials privately complain that billions in aid have gone into Russian banks, never to be seen again. In the first two years after the fall of Communism, between USD 60 billion and USD 70 billion worth of rubles, gold, and other material assets were spirited out of the former U.S.S.R. by the criminal elite, a mélange of gangsters and black marketers, unemployed KGB spies, and Communist Party hacksAt the center of the looting is the Russian banking system. Since there are no regulatory controls over proprietorship, even felons are permitted to own banks. What's more, there are no money-laundering laws, regulatory agencies, or depositor insurance. The Russian Central Bank is notoriously lax in exercising control over the nation's nascent financial system - a point Russian central-banking officials readily concede. Last September 13 (1995), in a meeting in Moscow with State Department envoy Jonathan WINER, Viktor MELNIKOV, the Central Bank's director for foreign-exchange control, "expressed great concern about the state of the Russian banking system, citing estimates that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of Russian banks were under the control of organized crime", according to a State Department cable obtained by New York. MELNIKOV also warned that "much of this [imported U.S.] money was being used for illegal purposes, including narcotics trafficking" and currency smuggling.Initially, the mob used Russian banks just to park their money. Then they began to "buy banks, to find out who has big deposits so they knew who to kidnap", says Jack BLUM, a Washington lawyer who directed Senate investigations into money laudering in the late eighties.Russian banks took in huge deposits of narco-dollars from South America, converting them to rubles, then back into dollars through European and U.S. banks. In essence, the Russian banking system had become a giant Laudromat.« It's very difficult to tell from the outside what a transaction [with a Russian bank] really means », says the State Department's WINER. « There are not a lot of public documents. You can't go to an SEC to look at a balance sheet for a Russian firm the way you ca in the United States. You can't go to a bank regulator and [find out] what kinds of loans have been made, what the underlying source of capital is, or any other number of key issues, let alone who their customers are ».« These are issues which the Russian Central Bank is concerned about », WINER says. « These are issues which the Russian Association of Bankers is concerned about, because they are not unrelated to the murder of the bankers ».More than a dozen Russian bankers have been killed since 1994 - one for simply refusing a loan. Many more have been threatened. The deputy superintendent of the New York State Banking Department, Robert H. McCORMICK, says he has heard stories of Russian bank examiners being chased out in a hail of gunfire.« It's very frightening», says Dan GELBER minority chief counsel of the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, which has held hearings on Russian crime.. « What [do] you do with a bank that from top down is not honest ? I mean, it almost creates a situation where there is no remedy » ?More savvy Russian hoods have hired sophisticated money managers and international lawyers to move their dirty money. Increasingly, they have purchased European companies with histories of legitimate banking activity and then used them as conduits to pass illicit funds into the international banking system. More ominously, they have acquired hidden control of banks in Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland and England, according to U.S. law-enforcement sources. Americans doing business in Russia have had to contend with « a banking system that's so bizarre and rudimentary it's hard to lelieve". says Blum. "It's sort of like the Wild East ».Meanwhile, swaggering Russian dons wearing thirties-style Capone garb have ratcheted up prices on the luxury housing market from Rio to London's Soho district, paying for million-dollar properties with minty new USD 100 bills.It was only a matter of time befor those hundreds started coming home to America, and the VOROVSKOI MIR with them.AMERICA HAS BEEN A BEACON FOR the Russian mob since the BREZHNEV era, when Jewisch gangsters in the thousands were lifted out of the Gulag and given visas to emigrate to the U.S. under refugee status. One of the biggest was Marat BALAGULA, a brainy black marketer originally from Odessa who made an art of evading state and federal excise tax, on gasoline by passing it through a daisy chain of dummy corporations. « "Marat said he read about capitalim, and he knew he could do well over here », says Robert EISENBERG, BALAGULA's self confessed consigliere and a New York lawyer who later testified in federal court against Getty Oil executives for setting up gasoline-bootlegging schemes with Russian gangsters. (In 1991, the Long Island-based Getty became the first oil corporation in recent history to be convicted for gasoline bootlegging). « He said he came here because he hated European languages. He said German grated on him ».By the mid-eighties, hundreds of millions of dollars of illicit Russian bootleg money was flowing into the U.S. banking system, where it was cleanned and used to acquire legitimate businesses. On of the Russian mob's principal conduits to legitimacy was Marvin E. Kramer, a Brooklyn lawyer who helped the bootleggers evade paying billions of dollars in gasoline taxes from the mid eighties through the early nineties. Whole walls of his office on Avenue U, near Coney Island, were lined with black binders containing the paperwork for dummy corparations; Russians walked in and bought the dummy companies literally off the shelf, and used them to set up daisy chains to avoid paying taxes on the gas they sold. Around the same time, KRAMERwas doing corporate work for a number of legitimate businesses, including the up-and-coming beverage maker SNAPPLE; the Russian bootleggers would hand out with SNAPPLE executives in KRAMER 's office, where they were under surveillance by a state-and-federal gasoline bootlegging task force. "Every time I went in there, there was people in therere from Snapple - you know, big shots, the owners or managers", says a senior law-enforcement source who worked on the case. "And they were always in there with these Russians". It is unknown whether the Russians - ended up investing in the then privately held company (Ouaker Oats later bought SNAPPLE in 1994 for USD 1,7 billion, after which the brand promptly tanked), but it's unlikely that Snapple executiveswould haveknown any investment money was dirty, the source says.TheRussian bootleggers' bank of choice was the Republic National Bank [SAFRA], whose suspect client accounts were subpoenaed by federal officials in the late eighties. BALAGULA and dozens of other Russians - the ones who hadn't been killed in turf battles - were subsequently convicted of gasoline bootlegging. KRAMER himself escaped prosecution, testifying for six hours before a Long Island grand jury about the bootleggers under a grant of immunity. « The grand jurors wanted to hang him », says the source. « He came out in a stretch limo, parked it right in front of the window ».The bootlegging prosecutions proved only a temporary setback. Long envious of their jewish cousins in crime, the VOROVSKOI MIR dispatched Vyacheslav IVANKOV to Brighton Beach in 1992. IVANKOV was a vory, or godfather, and one of the most feared gangsters in Russia; once in New York, IVANKOV quickly muscled in on the Russian Jewisch mob's empire, taking over its extortion racket and its lucrative narcotics trade. He formed "combat brigades" run by an ex-KGB officer to collect tribute from legitimate businesses worldwide, arbitrate disputes between Russian businessmen, and murder rival mobsters. He forged alliances with other Russian gangs across North America and set up a front company in New York, called Slavic Inc., to launder drug money, while his son Eduard based in Vienna « conducts a wide array of financial and banking transactions throughout Central and Western Europe (including England) in an effort to launder proceeds of Ivankov's illegal activities », according to an FBI affidavit obtained by New York.Ironically, it was a Russian bank that proved to be IVANKOV's downfall. In the autumn of 1994, Bank CHARA in Moscow collapsed, and depositors lost more than USD 30 million. Some USD 3,5 million of the money had been invested in SUMMIT International, a New York investment house set up by two of CHARA 's Russian board members. Soon after the bank's collapse, CHARA's president, Vladimir RACHUK, was killed by unknown assailants in Moscow. Last Spring (1995), his successor, Roustam SADYKOV, flew to New York to as SUMMIT’s directors to return the bank's missing funds. When the directors [SUMMIT] refused, SADYKOV allegedly asked IVANKOV to collect the debt. The following month, IVANKOV and two henchmen visited SUMMIT's Wall Street offices. Summit's owners and former CHARA officials, Alexander VOLKOV and Vladimir VOLOSHIN, fled in terror, eventually informing the FBI that they were being exhorted by Ivankov. The men were later kidnapped at gunpoint from the bar oft the Hilton hotel in Manhattan and forced to sign a contract promising to pay one of IVANKOV 's associates USD 3,5 million. As an inducement, the father of one of the men was shot to death in Moscow.Early on the morning of this past June 8 (1995), the FBI yanked a startled IVANKOV from his mistress's bed in Brighton Beach and charged him with extortion. As he was being led into the FBI building, a defiant IVANKOV kicked and spit at reporters. « Let them put me on the chopping block - let them crucify me on a cross, the vory later told a Moscow newspaper. I'm tough. I will survive ».In a sense, IVANKOV does survive. The money-laudering colossus he helped establish now circulates tens of millions of dollars annually in the New York area, according to law-enforcement sources, who are more than a little concerned. « Any time that dirty money can find its way into the U.S. financial system, it poses a risk to us », says Jerry ROWE, the IRS's chief officer of narcotics and money laudering. « It can, in fact, give criminals an opportunity to operate in a legitimate arena, whether it be in the political arena or buying up businesses. I mean, we could end up with those companies in some way supporting political candidates that they think will help them in one way or another ».An investigator from the State Banking Department couldn't believe federal officials had done nothing about the money sales« To us, it was like a sore on Cindy Crawford's face », he says. « I said, Geez isn't someone curious about how that sore got there ? »Among those indicted with IVANKOV was one of his higt-ranking associates. Yakov VOLOVNIK. VOLOVNIK 's father-in-law, Roman KAPLAN, owns the Russian SAMOVAR restaurant, a popular Russian-mob haunt in midtown that was also named in the FBI davit as a prime base for IVANKOV 's shakedowns. And KAPLAN - along with the owner of the National Restaurant in Brooklyn, another mob hangout - is a member of the Russian Advisory Council, a mostly honorary committee set up last October (1995) by Brooklyn district attorney Charles I. Hynes. "The owners of the restaurants are decent persons, but the Russian Mafiya hangs out there", says Alexandre GRANT, an editor of Brooklyn's NRS Russian Daily "They are good places to eat, but HYNES should not be associated with them. It sends out a bad message to the Russian-American community".HYNES has also reached out to the Russian community for campaign contributions. One of the members of both his finance and campaign-steering committees was Barry SLOTRICK, a flamboyant lawyer who also represents a veritable catalogue of the local Russian mob, including IVANKOV and BALAGULA.HYNES, who has been criticized in the past by federal officials for failing to take Russian organized crime in his juridiction seriously, declined comment.IN BANKING, REPUTATION IS EVERYTHING, SO when agents of the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the New York State Banking Department learned two years ago that Republic National Bank was selling tens of billions of dollars' worth of federal currency to as many as 50 corrupt Russian banks, they became alarmed. "This posed a question to us : If there are legitimate reasons - and there very well may be - for this money to be going over to Russia, why is it being sent to entities which have been determined, rightfully or wrongly, and I believe rightfully, to be controlled by organized crime ?" says a source close to the Banking Department's investigation. "It just didn't make sens to me. The analogy I always use is that it would be like sending money to [John Totti's] Bergen Hunt and Fish Club. Why are we doing that ?"State banking officials were so concerned by the Criminal Investigation Bureau's findings, the source says, that they urged federal agencies to probe Republic's banknote trade with Russia. But "right down the line" from the FBI to the CIA, "basically, the response that we were getting was, "Yeah, it looks like we've got a potential problem here, but you know what ? It's not ous problem"."To us, it was like a sore on Cindy Crawford's face ! I mean, it was there. And I said, "Geez, isn't someone curious about how that sore got there?"If Anmerican law enforcement was slow on the uptake, the Russians certainly knew what was going on. At the September 1994 conference, a Russian general was asked why Russian banks were buying billions of dollars in U.S. currency. According to a participant at the meeting, he chuckled, ans said, "Oh, that's money laudering". Then he went. "Hey, we're being ripped off in our country; the money is coming over here, being cleaned, and being brought back".State Department officials say the money laundering works something like this : Russian assets, such as oil, are stolen by underworld figures or corrupt plant managers and sold on the spot market in Rotterdam. The proceeds are wired through front companies on the Coninent and deposited in London banks. Gangsters place an order for, say, USD 40 million in U.S. currency through a bank in Moscow. The bank wires Republic, placing a purchase order for the cash. Republic buys the currency from the New York Federal Reserve. Simultaneously, Republic receives a wire transfer for the same account from the London bank. Republic pockets a commission and flies the cash from New York to Moscow. It is the used by mobsters to buy narcotics or villas, or run political campaigns. Republic's contacts are with the corresponding banks in London and Moscow and not necessarily the customers of those banks. As far as Republic is concerned, if there is a problem with the customer, it's up to the bank in London and Moscow to warn it. "All that's incumbent upon the American bank is to see if the other bank is a duly constituted bank, recognized by the central bank of that country", says the New York State Banking Department source. "To me, looking at it as someone who has been in law enforcement all my life, do I think maybe we might have some willful blindness here, or blinking, or looking the other way ? I think so. Can I prove it ? No".In any case, the question is moot. The New York State Banking Department has no jurisdiction over Republic because it is a federally chartered bank regulated by the Treasury's Comptroller of the Currency.Officially, the Treasury and the Fed back the sale of U.S. dollars to Russian banks, saying that market forces and geopolitics - and not the priorities of law enforcement - should drive the trade. A high-level meeting of Fed and Treasury officials was convened in Washington last year (1995), speciafically to discuss the huge dollar sales by Republic to Russia. Fed officials defended the trade, saying that other than through direct loans, it was the best way to bulk up the sagging ruble and help Russia enter the global free market, according to one participant. (Further, the Fed maintains that the U.S. Treasury earns USD 15 billion a year from dollar sales abroad, the difference between the 4 cents it costs to print the hundred-dollar note and the remainder of the face value on the bill that is pocketed until the note is redeemed, which in many cases will be never. "It's an interest-free loan to the U.S." says Edgar Feige, a University of Wisconsin economics professor and a consultant to the Fed).When one official at the meeting suggested that Republic might be doing business with banks controlled by organized crime, another vigorously defended Republic, saying it does a tremendous amount of due diligence to make sure the Russian banks are legitimately operated."And that in itself is a bit laugh", says the participant. "There is no possible way for anybody to conduct due diligence on a Russian bank. There were people there from the Fed who have no common sense at all".The dissent reaches all the way into the Comptroller of the Currency's office. When one senior official there was asked about Republic's dollar trade, he replied. "What I understand is that they are aiding in organized-crime activities out of the former Soviet Union through their so-called correspondent bank relationships".Indeed, New York has learned that an interagency federal task force on economic crime made a preliminary finding that Republic's dollar trade with Russia is consistent with money laudering, according to the Comptroller of the Currency source and another investigator with knowledge of Republic's activities. Drafts of working papers prepared by task-force analysts stated this finding, but the charges were "tempered substantially" in the final drafts that go to senior policy-makers, says the official.New York : "Have you gotten any word of working reports that have accused Republic of money laudering and working with Russian organized crime ?"Comptroller of the Currency official : « Not phrased that way.. No »New York : « How do they phrase it ? »Controller of the Currency official : « Well, what they do is, they indicate that the volume of new money being transferred out of Republic Bank into Russia is beyond that which is needed to support the normal use of U.S. dollars in the former Soviet Union, and that a further study needs to be made as to the actuel use of those funds. But then the individuals who are in charge of researching all that state that this is, in fact, used to support the black market and organized crime. But that does not appear [in] the final report that is submitted to the policy-makers ».So far the only action taken regarding mobbed-up Russian banks has come at the state level. « We frankly have had a number of expressions of interest from Russian banking institutions », says Robert H. McCORMICK, who heads the foreign-commercial-banks division at the New York State Banking Department. However, McCormick says, « there is a whole potpourri of problems connected with the Russian banks, [including] money-laudering activity and underworld connections. So we generally discourage Russian banks from applying for branch or agency licenses ». Because of strict state and federal licensing standards, only four Russian banks have applied for representative office status in New York, which would allow them to do P.R. work but not operate as banks : other Russian banks backed off, after-learning they would have to submit to a rigorous investigation by the state and the Fed’s Board of Governors. « We have to be concerned about the competence of the people running the bank, their experience, their background », says McCORMICK. « And sometimes when we check that very briefly, the news is not good ». In 1992, STOLICHNY Bank, one of Russia’s five largest private financial institutions and major recipient of cash from Republic, met with state banking officials to inquire about a charter. After being discouraged, it never followed up with an applicaton. STOLICHNY is identified in a classified CIA report as a front for organized crime : the respected Austrian newsweeckly Wirtschafts Woche has cited police records that alleged Stolichny’s owner, Alexander SMOLENSKY, was an international drug dealer in the top echelon of the Russian Mafiya. Two other allegedly mob-linked banks that buy cash from Republic – INKOMBANK and PROMSTROY – have submitted applications. Promstroy’s license to open a representative office was approved by the state banking department in June (1995) but pending with the Fed. INKOMBANK’s April 24 (1995) application is pending at both agencies. « Why is it that there are so few Russian banks that operate in New York ? » asks the banking-department source. « The primary reason is that none of them are trusted ».DESPITE ALL THE INVESTIGATIONS and all the high-level meetings and international conferences that seem to involve Republic National Bank New York, compliance officer Richard ANNICHARICO insists the bank as never been officially accused of selling money to a mobbed-up Russian bank. « No. I never heard that », he says. « But the innuendo is there because we sell to [Russia]. But so what ?.Asked about a recent classified CIA report that named ten major Russian banks – among them many Republic clients – that are run by organized crime, ANNICHARICO replied,“We looked at that, and we stopped doing business with some of those banks as a result of that”. In fact, ANNICHARICO says, Republic would completely shut down the dollar trade if federal officials ever showed it hard evidence that its cliens banks in Russia are corrupt. “Believe me, I wish they would*, hi says. “But you have a large faction of the U.S. government that thinks it’s great ! You have some of the law-enforcement people who are negative ont it. So you have a dual thing”.Many law-enforcement officials say they are not surprised Republic seems to be involved in such a controversial banking practice. “Republic as had a checkered past”, says the New York State Banking Department source. “They’ve been a subject of suspicion over the years…People have sort of grinned when they heard Republic’s name linked to mobbed-up banks in Russia”.
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The red, white and blue boeing 767 is on the tarmac when, at about 5 P.M., a cream-colored armored truck drives up. While Delta workers casually go about tossing luggage into the hold, two armed guards begin placing large white canvas bags on a conveyor belt. In the bagsare stacks of uncirculated new USD 100 bills, all still in their Federal Reserve wrappers, dozens to a bag. And there are dozens of bags.
Arriving from New York: Flight 30's cargo of U.S. cash being unloaded at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on January 4. (1996).Arrivant de New York: Le vol cargo Delta 30 en provenance des Etats-Unis est déchargé à l'aéroport Sheremetyevo de Moscou le 4 Janvier (1996).
Five nights a week, at least USD 100 million in crisp new USD 100 bills is flown from JFK nonstop to Moscow, where it is used to finance the Russian mob's vast and growing international crime syndicate. State and federal officials believe it is part of a multi-billion-dollar money-laudering operation. The Republic National Bank [SAFRA]and the United States Federal Reserve prefer not to think so. (Investigation by Robert I. Friedman)Cinq soirs par semaine, au moins 100 millions de dollars en nouvelles coupures de USD 100 étaient transportés par avion de JFK, sans escale jusqu’à Moscou, où cet argent a été utilisé pour financer le syndicat du crime international organisé. Ces fonds ont contribué à la croissance de la mafia russe. Les fonctionnaires d'État et les Fédéraux ont estimé que ces transferts faisaient partie d'une opération de blanchiment d'argent de plusieurs milliards de dollars. Republic National Bank [SAFRA] et la Réserve fédérale des États-Unis on préféré ne pas penser ainsi... (Enquête menée par Robert I. Friedman)
See sidebar (on the right) and belowVoir ci-contre (à droite) etci-dessous
NEW YORK Armed guards load bags of USD 100 bills into Delta Flight 30 at JFK 5 P.M. January 3 (1996).NEW YORK Des gardes armée chargent les sacs de coupures de USD 100 dans la soute du vol Delta 30 de 17:00 H à JFK le 3 janvier (1996).
MOSCOW Armed guards unload bills at Sheremetyevo airport, 11 A.M., January 4. (1996)MOSCOU Des gardes armés déchargent les billets à l'aéroport de Sheremetyevo, le 4 Janvier (1996) à 11.00 H.
August 1995 funeral of Ivan KIVELIDI, President of Ross Business Bank, who was poisoned.Août 1995 Funérailles de Ivan KIVELIDI, président de la Ross Business Bank, qui a été empoisonné.
The Stolichry Stalichry Bank in Moscow, alleged to be controlled by the Russian mob.La Stolichry Stalichry Bank à Moscou, accusée d'être contrôlée par la mafia russe.
Russian mobsters steal Oil from SiberiaLes Mafieux russes volent pétrole de Sibérie
Mobsters sell oil on spot market in Rotterdam for USD 40 millionLes Mafieux vendent du pétrole au comptant sur le marché à Rotterdam pour USD 40 millions
After wiring proceeds through several front companies, mobsters deposit the USD 40 million into a London Eurodollar accountAprès avoir fait transiter les revenus par plusieurs sociétés écran, les Mafieux déposent les USD 40 millions sur un compte Eurodollar à Londres
Mob owned or controlled Russian bank orders USD 40 million in USD 100 bills from Republic National Bank of New YorkLa banque dont la Mafia est propriétaire ou qu’elle contrôle, donne l’ordre à la Republic National Bank of New York, de changer les USD 40 million en billets de USD 100.
Republic buys uncirculated USD 100 bills from U.S. Federal Reserve branch in ManhattanRepublic achète les billets de USD 100 jamais mis en circulations, auprès de l'Agence de Manhattan de la U.S. Federal Reserve
Simultaneously, London bank wires the USD 40 million, plus a commission to RepublicSimultanément, la banque de Londres vire les USD 40 millions, plus une commission pour la Republic
Republic ships money to JFK airport, where it is charged onto a Delta jetRepublic expédie l'argent à l'aéroport JFK, où il est chargé sur un jet de Delta
Delta Flight 30 leaves JFK and arrives in Moscow the next morning; the money is delivered to the corrupt Russian bank.Delta Flight 30 quitte JFK et arrive à Moscou le lendemain matin; l'argent est remis à la banque russe corrompue.
Russian mobsters use U.S. dollars to buy heroin and otherwaise expend their empire. These profits will be laundered in a similar mannerLes Mafieux russes utilisent les U.S. dollars pour acheter de l'héroïne et pour étendre leur empire. Ces bénéfices seront lavés d'une manière similaire
The Laundry CycleHypothetical example of how Russian organized crime turns illicit proceeds into crisp, new USD 100 bills.Le cycle du blanchimentExemple hypothétique sur la manière dont le crime organisé russe transforme des revenus illicites dans de nouvelles coupures de USD 100
Reputed Russian godfather Vyacheslov IVANKOV, arrested by the FBI in Brighton Beach last June (1995)Parrain russe réputé Vyacheslav IVANKOV, arrêté par le FBI à Brighton Beach en Juin dernier (1995)
Simultaneously, London bank wires the USD 40 million, plus a commission to RepublicSimultanément, la banque de Londres vire les USD 40 millions, plus une commission pour la Republic
Barry SLOTRICK leaving meeting with Brooklyn D.A. Charles HYRES (above); SLOTRICK with client Vyschesdav Ivankov (below)Barry SLOTRICK quitte une réunion à Brooklyn avec D.A. Charles HYRES (ci-dessus); SLOTRICK avec son client Vyschesdav IVANKOV (ci-dessous)