President Vladimir Putin: Sergei Mikhailovich [Ignatyev], I would ask you not to forget about the Central Bank’s function of exercising control over respect for legislation and discipline in the banking sector, because increasing the confidence of our citizens and of economic actors in the country’s banking system depends on how well you carry out these responsibilities.
Sergei Ignatyev: Good.
Vladimir Putin: How do you assess work on resolving these issues in this sector? We all remember what problems the Central Bank encountered in this area the year before last, and I remember how difficult it was to resolve these matters. How is work going now?
Sergei Ignatyev: We are continuing work in this area. I am personally involved in this. One of our tasks is to prevent banks from carrying out dubious operations where the stated or declared aim of the transaction does not correspond to the reality. As a rule, such operations are carried out in the interests of third parties and involve tax evasion or evading payment of customs duties, though there are also other kinds of operations linked to money laundering and taking illegal capital out of the country. Why? Because our currency laws are now quite liberal and there are not any real barriers to taking capital out of the country for practically any purpose. You only need to declare it and you don’t need to obtain permission of any kind. You just need to declare it in your tax declaration, pay your taxes and so on. But we nevertheless still monitor such operations. We monitor them attentively. We draw banks’ attention to such operations and last year, I don’t remember the exact figure, but we revoked more than ten licenses for violations of Law 115.
Vladimir Putin: As we have already discussed, we don’t want to see any campaigns – this work should be a calm and ongoing routine process. Everybody should realise that there is much more comfort and benefit to be had in respecting the laws than in trying to get around them.