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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bank Names Kozlov's Replacement

Gennady Melikyan, a Central Bank deputy chairman, has been appointed head of its banking supervision committee, replacing Andrei Kozlov, who was shot dead earlier this month, the bank said Thursday.

Melikyan will take over Kozlov's powers of withdrawing the licenses of crooked banks -- work that is widely assumed to have cost Kozlov his life.

Melikyan will oversee the coming flotation of state-owned Vneshtorgbank, the country's second-largest, as well as the expansion of foreign banks into the banking sector.

A former labor minister in the early post-Soviet years, Melikyan, 58, joined the Central Bank in 2003 from Sberbank, the nation's largest commercial bank, where he was deputy board chairman.

At the Central Bank, Melikyan headed the inspectorate of credit organizations, a body tasked with carrying routine checks on the country's 1,200 banks. He is married and has two children.

"The fact that the new appointment has been so swift is good. I think that this appointment will allow the cabinet and the central bank to continue the reform policy," said Natalya Orlova, a banking analyst at Alfa Bank.

"But definitely Melikyan will be less of a public person than Kozlov."

The Central Bank withdrew the licenses of two financial institutions over legal violations on Thursday, the first such move since Kozlov's murder.

The Central Bank withdrew the license of the Russky Bank Imuschestvennoi Opeki, or Russian Bank of Property Custody, for purportedly producing fraudulent accounts. It withdrew the license of another financial institution, Kumost-Inkass, for failing to comply with anti-money-laundering measures, the Central Bank said in a statement.

In an interview published in Izvestia last year Melikyan said that with 63 percent of the banking sector assets in the hands of 20 largest banks "an exit of even 1,000 banks from the scene was not likely to affect the system."

He also spoke in favor of offering lifeboat facilities to banks in trouble. "I am in favor of helping a bank in a bad moment. Who knows what can happen," Melikyan said.