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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Central Bank Plans to Create Industry Oversight Watchdog

The Central Bank will create a new organization to oversee the banking industry, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified participant of a meeting between bankers and Central Bank officials in the Moscow region on Friday.

Central Bank spokesman Vladimir Lavrov declined to comment when reached in Moscow by telephone Friday.

An unidentified meeting participant said the Central Bank's committee on bank supervision had approved the new organization, citing Gennady Melikyan, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Interfax reported.

The organization's creation will encourage bank managers to become more responsible, Interfax said, without elaborating. The Central Bank's board of directors must approve the creation of this organization before it can start operating, Interfax said.

Melikyan, 58, was appointed first deputy chairman responsible for banking supervision Thursday, a statement posted on the bank's web site said.

The Central Bank said it had appointed Melikyan to replace Andrei Kozlov, who was shot dead in a crime widely seen as related to his efforts to clean up the country's banking industry.

A former deputy chairman of state savings bank Sberbank, Melikyan had previously reported to Kozlov at the Central Bank and took over as head of the bank's supervisory committee after his murder.

Prosecutors last month charged a commercial banker, Alexei Frenkel, with organizing the murder of Kozlov, who was shot in September as he left a football game among bank employees in Moscow. His driver was also killed.

Kozlov oversaw a cleanup of Russia's banking sector, closing down dozens of banks, including Frenkel's, over the past three years for alleged money laundering and other practices. His slaying underscored the persistent lawlessness in Russia and the vulnerability of figures who make enemies or fight corruption.

(Bloomberg, AP)