OREANDA-NEWS. In 2016 H1, the Bank of Russia addressed Russian law enforcement bodies and other authorised agencies with about 340 applications related to about 630 organisations allegedly engaged in illegal provision of consumer loans.

As many as 220 letters related to 440 entities were sent to prosecutor’s offices. Further to consideration of the Bank of Russia’s applications, they initiate administrative cases and hold inspections, pass recommendations to eliminate breaches of law, and forward information to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and the Federal Tax Service (FTS) of the Russian Federation. In its turn, the Bank of Russia sent about 40 letters with regard to 60 entities to MIA divisions, and more than 50 letters related to about 100 entities to FAS. In addition, the Bank of Russia applied to the Federal Bailiffs Service, Federal Tax Service and other authorised agencies.

Regional divisions of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation reveal illegal lenders and forward the information to prosecutor’s offices, MIA, FAS, FTS and other authorised agencies. Besides, law enforcement bodies receive information on legal entities struck off the state register of microfinance organisations but still engaged in consumer lending.

Importantly, Bank of Russia regional divisions participate in interdepartmental working groups, committees and commissions aimed at countering economic crimes, illicit financial operations, corruption and extremism, as well as illicit microfinancing.

In addition, the regulator is drafting a law on strengthening amenability for illicit microfinancing that provides for higher administrative fines and criminal liability of individuals in case of repeated violations. Another draft law is designed to deprive illegal lenders of relief in court. ‘We consider it logical to limit the right to relief in court of those who shows no respect for law and systematically violates it’, said Ilya Kochetkov, head of the Main Office of Microfinance Market and Financial Inclusion Methodology. ‘In addition, we strive to improve financial literacy of households, because people should understand the specifics and risks associated with certain financial instruments and be responsible for their choice for fear of falling victims of illegal lenders’.