Bank secrecy to be abolished in Russia?

Bank secrecy to be abolished in Russia?

Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service intends to obtain a legal basis for accessing financial information on bank accounts, deputy head of FAS Anti-Cartel Department Dmitry Artyushenko said.

He stressed that when dealing with anticompetitive agreements, the FAS needs cash flow statements, and the service sends a request to banks within each anti-cartel investigation, Kommersant writes.

The FAS has the authority to request such information from credit organizations on the basis of the relevant law 'On Protection of Competition'. Thus, they have the right "to request persons participating in the case to provide documents, information and explanations to resolve issues arising during the consideration of the application". The same law obliges a wide range of people to provide the data requested by the FAS within the time limits set, Kommersant writes.

Nevertheless, the banks rely on the Law 'On Banks and Banking Activities', with a closed list of government agencies admitted to bank secrecy given in Article 26. This list includes the courts, the Federal Tax Service, extrabudgetary funds, but not the FAS.

The advisor on macroeconomics to the CEO of the 'Opening-Broker' brokerage house, economist Sergey Hestanov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the lifting of bank secrecy will be limited only to the interests of the FAS in this case. "The fact is that the tax service had access to information on bank accounts by special request, but it was not regulated by all documents and there was a contradiction of several laws. Thus, the FAS simply proposed a technical resolution of the conflict, so it would not make much difference for entities and persons," he said.

Professor of the RANEPA faculty of Finance, Money Circulation and Credit, Yuri Yudenkov, said that the development of electronic systems gradually abolishes bank secrecy all over the world. "The growing popularity of electronic money transfers makes it necessary to control who and why does it in order to ensure security - terrorists may transfer money for criminal purposes. This is inevitable - all financial information on bank accounts will be known to regulatory authorities over time. The correlation between the consequences and the reasons is important here: if you are allowed to transfer money from your phone to anywhere in the world, then it is important for the government to know who you are and why you are doing it," he stressed.