Private Bank Fuels Fortunes of Putin's Inner Circle
Sep.27.2014 — New York Times
Washington, D.C.-based International Trade Group partner, Cari N. Stinebower, is quoted in New York Times cover story that offers in depth analysis on the workings of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and their financial transactions. In particular, the article notes that Bank Rossiya, an entity subject to U.S. sanctions, was created for what the Obama administrations calls the "personal bank" of the Putin inner circle. The article notes that this bank, like many others, is webbed into a shell of companies – but that the ownership structure for these companies is not readily identifiable. The lack of transparency into ownership structure says Stinebower, who advises clients on compliance with sanctions, raises "red flags" and corresponding enhanced due diligence requirements. Treasury has clarified that any entity 50 percent or more owned by a sanctioned person is also blocked by operation of law. With regard to CTC Media (CTC), a company with several television channels that was partially owned by a subsidiary of Bank Rossiya, Video International and an agreement CTC had with the subsidiary, Stinebower comments, "The way the law works, it's incumbent on CTC to understand the beneficial ownership of the company they are doing business with" to ensure that there is not "some sanctioned entity at the end of the chain." It has been reported that Video International was able to maneuver around Russian law and placed CTC at risk for violating American sanctions.