A new report claims the Russian Troika Dialog bank led by Armenian billionaire Ruben Vardanyan managed a network of offshore companies moving billions out of Russia.
The report is based on a leak of confidential bank transactions obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a consortium of east European investigative journalists, and the Lithuanian website 15min.lt.
As a whole, the data set includes over 1.3 million banking transactions from 238,000 companies and people, as well as thousands of emails, contracts, and company registration forms.
Dubbed the Troika Laundromat, the investigation is named after the Russian private investment bank Troika Dialog that allegedly created and operated the $8.8 billion scheme.
Led by Russian-Armenian executive Ruben Vardanyan, Troika Dialog reportedly directed billions of dollars from Russia into at least 35 bank accounts at Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas.
The investigation found that the money was subsequently sent to western Europe and the US after being spun through many accounts and companies.
According to the BBC, money from the network was sent to Prince Charles’ Charities Foundation to help restore Dumfries House, a stately home in Ayrshire.
In an interview with , Vardanyan said his bank did nothing wrong and that it acted as other investment banks did at the time. He stressed that he couldn’t have known about every deal his enormous bank facilitated for its clients.
The report stresses that no evidence has been found that Vardanyan was ever investigated or accused of any wrongdoing by authorities. His signature was found on only one document in the entire scheme, in which he gives a loan to a Troika Laundromat company.
Vardanyan sold Troika in 2012 to the giant Russian state-controlled Sberbank, for a reported $1bn.