Laundromats are complex systems for moving money that allow corrupt politicians, organized crime figures, and wealthy business people to secretly invest their ill-gotten millions, launder money, evade taxes, and fulfill other goals.
OCCRP has previously exposed three such schemes: The Proxy Platform, the Russian Laundromat, and the Azerbaijani Laundromat.
Now, OCCRP and its reporting partners reveal a unique new Laundromat, created by a prestigious financial institution. This time, the work shows not only its beneficiaries but also exposes its mastermind and operator — Troika Dialog, once Russia’s largest private investment bank.
The scheme was discovered in a large set of banking transactions and other documents obtained by OCCRP and the Lithuanian news site 15min.lt. The data, which was compiled from multiple sources, represents one of the largest releases of banking information ever, involving some 1.3 million leaked transactions from 238,000 companies.
The main purpose of the system we’ve named the Troika Laundromat was to channel billions of dollars out of Russia. But it was much more than a money laundering system: The Laundromat allowed Russian oligarchs and politicians to secretly acquire shares in state-owned companies, to buy real estate both in Russia and abroad, to purchase luxury yachts, to hire music superstars for private parties, to pay medical bills, and much more.
To protect themselves, the wealthy people behind this system used the identities of poor people as unwitting signatories in the secretive offshore companies that ran the system.
Read on below for the details.