January 17, 2017 / 5:35 PM / 3 years ago

Russia cbank puts Rosneft's bank in charge of Orthodox lender

MOSCOW, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The Russian central bank said on Tuesday it had assigned managers from Russian Regional Development Bank, owned by Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft, to temporarily run the troubled Orthodox Church bank Peresvet.

The central bank said in a decree that the RRDB Vice President Mikhail Polunin and deputy economic security chief Alexander Vinokurov should be brought into Peresvet’s temporary managing team.

In October last year, the central bank introduced a “temporary administration” at Peresvet, half of which belongs to Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church, as the lender faced issues with its capital.

Russian news agencies cited the central bank’s press service as saying in October that Peresvet had taken excessively high risks when providing loans to construction companies that had been facing a sharp fall in demand over the past few years.

The central bank did not withdraw Peresvet’s banking licence but imposed a moratorium on servicing its obligations for several months in what, according to Fitch ratings agency, constituted a default.

The central bank is now in the midst of cleaning up Russia’s banking system, which it says is plagued by “dubious activities” including non-performing loans and money laundering, and has shown no inclination to bail out Peresvet.

The church lender formally dubs itself the “Commercial Bank for Charity and Spiritual Development of the Fatherland”.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; editing by Mark Heinrich

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