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In Arkhangelsk Sberbank client on list of extremists for commentaries published on the Web gets access to his account one year on

posted 28 May 2014, 02:17 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 May 2014, 06:11 ]
26 May 2014

Source: Open News Agency

Five court hearings, four letters to the Federal Financial Monitoring Agency and more than 10 appeals to the bank since the beginning of April 2013 were needed for Ivan Moseev, director of the Centre of Strategic Studies at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, to gain access to his own money via his Sberbank card. Today he told Agora that one year on he had finally succeeded in getting access to his money.

Because of a comment ascribed to him on a forum, Ivan Moseev was found guilty last year of humiliating the dignity of the “Russian” ethnic group and was prescribed a fine of 100,000 roubles. He was put on Russia’s so-called “list of terrorists and extremists” held by Rosfinmonitoring (Federal Financial Monitoring Agency) and his bank card was blocked. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to withdraw money, he approached the Arkhangelsk branch of Sberbank, where on 23rd May 2013 he was told that the bank had the right to suspend or terminate the use of his card in the event of violation of their conditions of use. At the same time, during private conversations, the bank employees hinted at the fact that he was on the black list of Rosfinmonitoring and that this was the main problem. 
It was only on October 10, 2013 that an official letter of clarification arrived from the Department of Claims of the customer support Centre Iuzhnyi Port of Sberbank Russia, informing that a ban had been placed on operations with Moseev’s card in accordance with the Federal Law "On Combating Legalization (Laundering) of Criminally Gained Income and Financing of Terrorism" (№ 115-FZ from 07.08.2001). Sberbank emphasized the fact that Moseev can approach Rosfinmonitoring on issues regarding the lifting of the ban, the correspondent of the Open Information Agency reports. 

Ivan Moseev considered the bank's actions illegal and appealed to the October district court of Arkhangelsk. He told them he was the only breadwinner in a family of four people, two of whom were minors and that he needed the little money on his card for essential everyday needs, not for the financing of terrorism. Moseev asked them to pay attention to the fact that he was not accused of engaging in terrorist activity, but because of a comment on the internet, that he had never faced a criminal prosecution before and had not been convicted of violating anti-terrorism legislation.

Moseev’s suit against Sberbank began on February 10, 2014 and is still continuing. On 10th June a regular session will be held, during which the original copy of the banking terms and conditions, signed by Moseev should be received from Sberbank’s archive in Yasnaya Polyana. The representatives of the Sberbank’s branch from Arkhangelsk claim that if they would not have blocked Moseev’s card, they would have faced extremely negative consequences, including the suspension of their license by the Central Bank. 

“The first three appeals to Rosfinmonitoring within the framework of this suit ended without meaningful formal replies of the department,” said lawyer Sergei Petryakov, representing the interests of Ivan Moseev. “It was only when the question about the need for a representative from Rosfinmonitoring to participate in the court hearing arose, that we received an answer from the department, saying that there had been no decision on the suspension of debit transactions imposed on Moseev’s bank account by Rosfinmonitoring. Thus, given that Rosfinmonitoring has stated it has no objections, we consider that in the case of the violation of the existing legislation, the bank actually took upon itself the responsibility of the supervisory authority for the approval or denial of carrying out operations”.

After obtaining an order from the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, Ivan Moseev requested that the Arkhangelsk branch of Sberbank of Russia give him the necessary amount of money from his bank card and attached the order to his request. Within half an hour the bank issued the money to Ivan Moseev.

Translated by Ana-Marie Sibur