Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 6

Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov yesterday gave his strongest hint to date that Sergei Dubinin, chairman of Russia’s Central Bank until shortly after the collapse of the ruble and Russia’s treasury bill market last August 17, may face prosecution for alleged wrongdoing in connection with those events. Skuratov told reporters that he will urge President Boris Yeltsin to discuss the results of the investigation, which his office has carried out, into the activities of the Central Bank at the time of last August’s financial meltdown. Skuratov said his investigators had uncovered many violations of Russia’s banking laws, including, he alleged, those involving the activities of individual high-ranking officials in the government securities market. “We will be asking them where they got the money,” Skuratov said, adding that the figures involved were “hundreds of millions of rubles”–in the neighborhood of US$10-40 million. He said that questions might also involve alleged money laundering and tax evasion. Skuratov said three criminal cases had already resulted from his office’s investigation. While he did not say whether Dubinin was guilty of any criminal offenses, he said the former Central Bank chief “bears direct responsibility for what happened in Russia after August 17” (Russian agencies, January 10).

For his part, Dubinin repeated his charge that the investigation into the Central Bank is part of a politically motivated campaign against those who worked with government securities and “those who carried out a certain policy in both the government and in the Central Bank.” Dubinin charged that Skuratov is “rather openly today trying to confirm with his actions the words of our extreme oppositionists,” who accuse the government of being a “criminal regime.” Dubinin said that neither he nor the Central Bank’s board of directors permitted violations of the law. He also said that he had no bank accounts which could have been used for operations with securities–either government or corporate–and that he had no involvement in any such operations (ORT television, January 10).