Hungarian bank tied to international money-laundering scheme


Evidence emerged that Hungary’s MKB Bank is remotely involved in a major scheme through which Russian perpetrators used offshore proxies. The plan led to criminal investigations for successfully laundering upwards of $20 billion.

The ongoing evaluation of California-based Russian businessman Semyonovich Flider has revealed many international ties, one of them reaching a bank in Hungary.

Flider is accused of selling proprietary – mainly military – technology abroad, then utilizing phantom firms through an intermediary bank in Moldova to launder the profits. The case, which has been explored in-depth by the OCCRP international news organization involves channeling more than $20 billion dollars.

Flider’s ties are extensive, besides good relations with the Kremlin, his businesses can also be linked to providing finances for one of US President Donald Trump’s golf courts.

The Hungarian connection emerged regarding Flider’s businesses seeking out financial partners to manage their money flowing through several countries and subsidiaries worldwide. One such company was Santora International Ltd, which we found sought out the services of offshore-mediator, Laveco, a company very familiar to us. This company among other cases was tied to the business-building efforts of Tamas Welsz, the man tied to a major political corruption scandal apart from other dubious dealings who then suspiciously died in the back of a police car.

After being registered by Laveco for Flider, Santora opened an account in 2008 in Hungary’s MKB Bank. The commercial financial firm was then owned by German Bayerische Landesbank. The bank had a high repute for mainly its services provided to an affluent clientele, but also built up a loan portfolio that quickly turned toxic in light of the Lehman Brothers crisis. A few years ago it was bought out by the central bank and recently reprivatized under suspect conditions.

When we asked MKB about the matter, we were refused citing bank secrets. However, the company had to have caught on, records show that in 2012 it called on the Flider interest to provide additional documentation or the firm would deny complying with certain transaction orders citing Hungary’s domestic laws against money laundering.

Original article in Hungarian

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