MOSCOW, June 19 (UPI) -- Shell companies are responsible for illegally funneling $25 billion away from Russia, outgoing Central Bank chief Sergei Ignatyev said Wednesday.
"In May this year, the Central Bank received an official inquiry from the Interior Ministry about some organizations that were used in illegal financial transactions by suspects in one of several criminal probes," Ignatyev said in a report to Russia's Parliament on the central bank's activity last year.
"The Central Bank examined direct and indirect payment relations of that organization and ... we found out that the organizations mentioned in the inquiry are a small part of a vast network consisting of 173 shell firms, through which $25 billion [was] withdrawn in violation of tax and foreign exchange legislation," he said.
Some $659 million more was converted into cash in violation of Russian law, Ignatyev said.
The illegal money transfers included export revenues not received on time, cash for goods and services prepaid but not received under import contracts, and money transfers abroad under false operations with securities and loans, RIA Novosti reported.