Russia’s Customs Service has filed a massive law suit in Moscow against the Bank of New York. It wants over 16.5 billion euros in damages because of alleged money laundering in the 1990s.
This follows the prosecution last year of a former Bank of New York official and her Russian husband who admitted involvement in a five point two billion euro money-laundering conspiracy. In 2005 Bank of New York paid the US government and other banks 28 million euros to resolve that case.
Bank of New York has an office in Moscow but it is not one of the major players in Russian banking. US and European banks have limited assets there and are only allowed to operate joint ventures with local institutions. Investigators concluded the billions that passed through Bank of New York was profit made by Russian exporters who laundered it to avoid paying taxes to the Moscow government.
The Bank of New York said it has not see the law suit but “based on our knowledge of the facts, we believe any such suit would be totally without merit, if not frivolous, and we would expect to defend it vigorously.”