August 2, 2019 / 11:04 AM / 23 days ago

Russian prosecutors check pension fund Budushchee - sources

MOSCOW, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Russian prosecutors have started checks at the country’s fourth-largest non-state pension fund Budushchee, three sources with knowledge of the matter said, part of a probe of the sector following complaints of pension savings being illegally transferred.

Separately on Friday prosecutors in the Siberian region of Irkutsk said they had discovered a number of cases of illegal pension fund transfers from the Russian Pension Fund (RPF) to Budushchee and had opened five criminal investigations into unnamed individuals over the matter.

The transfer of pension funds from the RPF into privately managed firms - a move encouraged by the state until the policy was suspended more than two years ago - has became a hot issue in Russia amid widespread complaints of funds being transferred without permission.

The Prosecutor General’s Office said this week it would carry out checks of non-state pension funds in August, having been asked to do so by President Vladimir Putin, but did not give details.

Also this week the RPF said it would recommend prosecutors check five or six non-state funds which face the greatest number of claims from consumers questioning the legitimacy of transfers of their savings.

Sources including a member of the staff at another non-state pension fund, a broker and a pension market source said the Prosecutor General’s Office is checking Budushchee, which manages 250 billion roubles ($3.9 billion) in assets.

Neither Budushchee or the Prosecutor General’s Office responded to requests for comment.

In Irkutsk the prosecutor’s statement, issued on its website, gave no further detail of the investigation or why it had been launched. No-one at the prosecutor’s office could immediately be reached for comment.

Budushchee had been controlled by the family of businessman Boris Mints. On July 24 financial group Region said it planned to clean up the fund’s balance sheet and recapitalise it.

That’s after Budushchee said in September 2018 it had been taken over by Cyprus-registered Riverstretch Trading & Investments, which later sold the fund to Region.

$1 = 64.8695 roubles Reporting by Tatiana Voronova Writing by Katya Golubkova Editing by David Holmes

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