Russian central bank shuts down three more small banks

MOSCOW, March 26 Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:44am EDT

MOSCOW, March 26 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank revoked the licences 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 central bank said in a statement.

Clients of Moscow-based bank Sovinkom - ranked 697th biggest by assets - carried out more than 6.8 billion roubles ($191 million) of "dubious operations" in 2013. Such operations at Yekaterinburg-based Sberinvestbank, ranked at 536th, totalled 4.6 billion roubles 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 licence 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. ($1 = 35.6481 Russian Roubles) (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)