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Central Bank Revokes 3 Licenses

Elvira Nabiullina, head of the Central Bank.

The Central Bank revoked the licenses of three small banks on Wednesday, pressing its crackdown on money laundering and risky operations in the sector.

Russia has more than 900, mostly small, banks, and many are suspected of servicing the shadow economy. Since taking up her position as central bank head last year, Elvira Nabiullina, has made it clear she wants to tighten banking supervision and shore up large-scale capital flight to boost the flagging economy.

Two of the three banks had failed to create sufficient reserves to cover potential losses on loans and were involved in "dubious operations," the regulator said in a statement.

Clients of Moscow-based bank Sovinkom — ranked 697th biggest by assets — carried out more than 6.8 billion rubles ($191 million) of "dubious operations" in 2013. Such operations at Yekaterinburg-based Sberinvestbank, ranked at 536th, totaled 4.6 billion rubles last year.

The banks also did not comply with the regulator's requirements regarding prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, it said.

The Central Bank also revoked the license of Ufa-based Moi Bank Ipoteka, citing its failure to meet obligations to creditors and depositors and the central bank's capital requirements. The bank is ranked 650th biggest by assets.

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