Bank of Lithuania to look into additional info on VIA SMS Group

Bank of Lithuania

The Bank of Lithuania will analyze additional information on VIA SMS Group after Arvydas Anušauskas, a member of the Lithuanian parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense, representing the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said earlier the Latvian-capital business group VIA SMS Group in Lithuania includes people who have direct ties with the owners of the collapsed Parex bank.

"The Bank's Supervision Service followed all procedures stipulated by legal acts and thoroughly analyzed all information provided by the company in question at the time and also turned to other competent institutions before issuing an electronic money institution license to the company. Additional information will be analyzed and evaluated," the central bank told BNS Lithuania.

The Bank of Lithuania issued an electronic money institution license to Via Payments (operating under the Vialet brand), part of VIA SMS Group, last October. Vialet is set to start operations in Lithunaia in the fall.

BNS Lithuania reported earlier that, VIA SMS Group's specialized bank FinnQ is entering Lithuania, becoming the first specialized bank in the country.

VIA SMS LT, a payday loan company owned by VIA SMS Group also used to operate in Lithuania, but it seized operations last July.

Anušauskas says FinnQ CEO and board member Denis Sherstyukov was a member of the Parex council and is a former business partner of Parex owner Valery Kargin's son. Moreover, former Parex owner Viktor Krasovitsky's son Georgy serves on VIA SMS Group's council. He worked at Parex in 2004-2008 and was responsible for the expansion of lseasing and factoring services in CIS countries.

"Sherstyukov also has political ties with Nils Usakovs' Harmony Centre which has an official cooperation agreement with Vladimir Putin's United Russia. Parex bank has been linked to various scandals, even with the Russian Tambov mafia group, and the Panama Papers scandal revealed that the bank issued a 100 million-dolar loan to Russian company Severneft CEO Zhan Khudainatov. This unpaid loan reportedly had major impact on Parex bank's collapse," Anušauskas said.

In his words, Khudainatov's brother Eduard head Nezavisimaya Neftyanaya Kompaniya (Independent Oil Company) which has been sanctioned by the United States foe cooperation with the North Korean regime.

Late last year, Latvian company Financial Investment owns 50 percent of VIA SMS Group, and Sherstyukov had 31 percent and Krasovitsky owns 19 percent.

In 2014, VIA SMS Group issued bond on the Nasdaq Baltic stock exchange, and its turnover stood at around 20 million euros last year.

Source: BNS
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