New Names in the RBK Case

On New Year’s eve, Bank RBK brought joy to its clients, depositors, and the market by announcing the transfer of the dubious assets in the sum of 603 bln tenge to Special Financial Company DSFK. On the basis of the agreement sighed by Bank RBK, the government, the National Bank of Kazakhstan, and the Kazakhmys group (or rather its owner Vladimir Kim), the agency will be engaged in the return of bad loans.

Judging by the press-releases, the state of Bank RBK’s affairs is improving. As of December 29, 2017, the bank obtained 245 bln tenge of the additional funds from Vladimir Kim. Apart from that, in the beginning of January 2018, Bank RBK is expecting the third tranche of the subordinated loan from the National Bank of Kazakhstan in the amount of 60 bln tenge in addition to the 150 bln received earlier. All in all, the bank is to receive 234.7 bln tenge as part of the state support program.

As a result of the common efforts of the shareholder and the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the liquid assets of Bank RBK are soon to reach the mark of 180 bln tenge. The bank’s current liquidity ratio is expected to be 4.0-4.5 which is more than ten times higher than the regulator’s norm. Therefore, there can be no doubt that Bank RBK is safe and will not experience liquidity problems in the coming year.

Note that the government and the National Bank will not execute Nazarbayev’s orders on the subject in their entirety. On November 3, 2017, at the National Democratic Party Political Council meeting, Nursultan Nazarbayev not only requested to stabilize Bank RBK operations but also ordered to put the thieves in the places where they ought to be. The letter request it seems will not be implemented.

We have already commented on the difficulty of the situation that Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev and National Bank Chairman Daniyar Akishev had found themselves. The latter, in his pre-New Year interview to the Delovoy Kazakhstan newspaper, even expressed regret that the authorities had to choose “not between the bad and the good but between the bad and the very bad. The choice, however, had to be made because lack of action would have been even worse”.

Having found itself in a deadlock situation, Akorda decided to save Bank RBK by any means necessary and was successful in its undertaking. The Kazakhstanis should be thankful for the mere fact that, this time, the state had managed to involve billionaire Vladimir Kim in the rescue operation thus significantly lessening their expenses. However, this was the one and only authorities’ success. According to inside information, the negotiations with the two key figures that contributed to Bank RBK’s problems, namely Zhomart Ertayev and Dinmukhamed Idrisov, so far, have been fruitless.

This can largely be explained by the fact that the hands of the authorities and the new Bank RBK management are tied. The matter is that, if the list of the business-projects and money laundering schemes that were granted loans from Bank RBK would be made public, it might ignite a serious political scandal and endanger one of Akorda’s most important figures, President’s eldest daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva.

It was Dariga Nazarbayeva who, in 2014, sold 100% shares of the Alma-TV capital stock to Dinmukhamed Idrisov. The deal was closed on May 16, 2014. The sum was not made public but, according to the information we received, it reached $250 mln obtained from Bank RBK via different channels. And, after that, the financing of the Alma Group business that Alma-TV became a part of continued via Bank RBK.

Zhomart Ertayev is President Emeritus of Alma Group. In 2014 – 2016, he was the head of Alma-TV (starting from February 2017, it was renamed as AlmaTel Kazakhstan) and, in September 2016, he became the Alma Group Chairman and the company’s President Emeritus.

According to the Russian business media, the Alma Group includes Kazakhstan’s Alma-TV, Russian Tsifra Odin, 2KOM, Tekhnologii Domovykh Setey +, Saratovskaya Tsifrovaya Telefonnaya Set. The Forbes magazine speaks about it in detail. We cannot estimate the total amount of Alma Group’s investments in Kazakhstan and in Russia but, judging by the media data, the purchase of Tsifra Odin only had cost the investor from 1.7 to 2 bln rubles.

Apart from that, in 2017, Zhomart Ertayev became the majority shareholder of two Russian banks. Particularly, in the spring, he purchased 5% shares of Troika-D Bank from 3D Distribution Limited. Another 95% of the shares, as a result of two deals, came under the control of closed-end mutual fund Eurasia Investments (under the management of NIK Razvitie). Ertayev who took charge of the bank in the capacity of the chairman is their beneficiary owner. In its turn, from 2015, Troika-D Bank has been a shareholder of Vokbank (full title – Volgo-Oksky Kommerchesky Bank) with 99.99% participation interest.

According to inside information, Bank RBK’s money (and quite a large amount of it, too) flew in this direction as well. But since the suspicion that it was Dariga Nazarbayeva who helped Dinmukhamed Idrisov and Zhomart Ertayev to obtain considerable loans from the bank exists, Kazakhstan’s negotiators in Moscow cannot act hastily, without a backward glance, otherwise, the criminal investigation would be open and Ertayev would end up on the international most wanted list.

And Dariga did have the possibilities to help with the loans.

She could have influenced Bank RBK management both herself, as Head of non-profit Fund of the First President of Republic of Kazakhstan whose affiliated structure Directory of Property Management Fond-Invest was an RBK shareholder, and through her current husband Kayrat Sharipbayev who was also an influential shareholder of the financial institute.

Read also:  The Backstory of Bank RBK Problem, Bank RBK: Behind the Scenes, On Monster Banks and the Regulator’s Blindness.


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