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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bankers Implicated In Collapse

Russian central bankers said Wednesday that managers at failed Tveruniversalbank had sabotaged efforts of a Central Bank team sent to head off collapse, and that the matter would be turned over to prosecutors.

Sergei Panov, head of the Central Bank's department in charge of restructuring failing commercial banks, said the managers of Tveruniversalbank, which lost its license Monday, had intentionally hindered his efforts. Panov said that although Tveruniversalbank Vice President Sergei Vasilyev and President Alexandra Kozyreva "were relieved of their duties" when he arrived, they still "sabotaged all my decisions."

"I cannot name a single order of more than 30 that was fulfilled," Panov told a news conference.

Neither Vasilyev nor Kozyreva could be reached for comment.

Panov was sent to Tveruniversalbank earlier this month to head a temporary administration imposed by the Central Bank before it decided to withdraw the bank's license.

Household savers at Tveruniversalbank can transfer their accounts to the state-controlled Sberbank savings bank and withdraw them starting in September, Central Bank officials said.

Commercial depositors will have to await further developments and possible bankruptcy proceedings.

Central Bank deputy chairman Alexander Turbanov said the bank was preparing material on the case to hand over to the prosecutor general.

Bankers said the problems at Tveruniversalbank, Russia's 17th-biggest by assets, started with simple mistakes.

"Everything began with real estate," Panov said.

Like many banks in the early years of economic reform, Tver invested heavily in real estate; when the real estate market slowed down, the bank found itself with illiquid assets performing far below expectations, the central bankers said. Tver also invested in promissory notes, trading and issuing the short-term obligations based on the creditworthiness of individual institutions.

Central Bank Chairman Sergei Dubinin on Sunday said on NTV independent television that Tveruniversalbank's management had acted so unprofessionally at the end that central bankers suspect illegal activity.