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Bankers want to 'squeeze' Russian Capital out of Western Banks

Aleksandr Lebedev, president of National Reserve Bank and head of the National Investment Council (NIS), said the NIS intends to compile a list of Western banks involved in laundering capital illegally exported from Russia, pravda.ru reported on 18 October.

Since Russia was removed from the Financial Action Task Force's "black list" of countries that do not sufficiently combat money laundering on 11 October, Russian financial groups have been discussing measures for "squeezing" Russian capital out of Western banks and repatriating it.

Lebedev, a former officer in the Russian foreign-intelligence service, said that a simple amnesty for such capital is not sufficient without resolving legal issues abroad and instituting real guarantees at home, as well as establishing domestic political and economic stimuli. He estimated that there are five to 10 banks in Switzerland, France, and Luxemburg from which Russia can "squeeze" up to $15 billion each if it develops an effective repatriation program.

(RFE/RL 18.x.02)

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