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Cyprus-based RCB rules out unsecured loans

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(Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images) A logo sits on display outside a Russian Commercial Bank Cyprus Ltd. (RCB) bank branch in Limassol, Cyprus, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Cyprus wants to shield financial flows with Russia, where it's the biggest foreign investor, as the U.S. and the European Union ratchet up sanctions in response to President Vladimir Putin's annexing Crimea from Ukraine. Russian Businesses And Retail Stores In Cyprus
April 5
9:20 PM 2016

RCB, a Cyprus-based lender, has clarified that it had never extended unsecured loans. Latest British media reports highlighted the alleged role of RCB in providing unsecured loans to people close to Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. Cyprus Central Bank is examining the issue, promising it would take appropriate action against illegal financial deals. 

According to media reports, the Guardian newspaper on Sunday alleged that RCB and other banks have extended 'enormous unsecured loans' to entities linked to close Vladimir Putin acquaintances. RCB bank is affiliated with the Russian state-owned bank VTB. The Central Bank of Cyprus regulates RCB. Responding to a news report by Britain's Guardian news paper, RCB denied such reports. The news site has reported about the alleged role of RCB in helping people close to Vladimir Putin make money. 

Reuters couldn't independently confirm the allegations. Cyprus-based RCB said those allegations were 'unfounded' and 'duly refuted as untrue.' In a note sent to Reuters, Cyprus Central Bank said it was 'evaluating' the information about such deals pertaining to the Cypriot banking system. Cyprus Central Bank is probing the financial deals connected to Cypriot banking system and came out with an announcement that it would take appropriate action if necessary. 

In a statement emailed to Reuters, RCB Bank said "it did not and does not provide unsecured loans. The Bank always acts in a transparent manner and all information about its activities is available to the relevant Cypriot and European authorities."

Massive leak of documents from a Panamanian law firm further reveal that hundreds of thousands of clients had evaded tax and laundered money and this malpractice went for about 40 years. There was a network of secret offshore deals and loans worth $2 billion that laid a trail to some close friends of Russian President as says Guardian. However, the President's name has not appeared in any record, although the data has tracked a pattern on how his friends earned millions from such deals. The documents show that Putin's family has benefited from this money.

The leaked Panama papers threw spotlight on Sergei Roldugin, a best friend of Putin. Roldugin introduced a lady to Putin, who later married her. Her name is Lyudmila. He is also the god father of Putin's older daughter Maria.

Yahoo Finance further adds that Cyprus has close business relations with Russia. A part of deposits were converted into equity for recapitalizing the Bank of Cyprus, country's largest lender. A second bank Laiki was wound down. RCB and Hellenic, another Cypriot systemic bank, were never considered for a bail-in as they had no much exposure as other two banks had to debt crisis in Greece.

The leak of millions of papers from the database of Mossack Fonseca reveal how rich and influential people avoid paying tax using secret offshore tax regimes in several ways. Mossack Fonseca is the world's fourth largest offshore law firm. The offshore deals began in Panama and went through Russia, Switzerland and Cyprus. 

This included a private ski resort as well. Putin's younger daughter Katerina got married in 2013 at this resort only. The line of network included right from Sergei Roldugin, Bank Rossiya, Swiss lawyers, Mossack Fonseca, RCB of Cyprus, Sandalwood, Ozon, Igora and Yuri Kovalchuk, as per the media reports.

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