The Skolkovo Foundation has explained why it deposited money received from the budget in the bank of its president, Viktor Vekselberg.
"Metcombank was the only commercial bank willing to accept the Foundation's liquid assets in a bank account with the ability to immediately withdraw them without receiving a fine and with interest at a rate higher than the market average," the Foundation said in statement.
With the average rate when the deposits were made (August 5 2010) at 3.8% per annum for three-month deposits and 4.3% for six-months, the foundation signed a deal with Metcombank to deposit 3.5 billion rubles for less than 5 months at a weighted average of 5.65% and with a special condition that it would have the right to withdraw the money early no later than 5 days from the request date without penalty, the release says.
Investigators are analyzing Federal Security Service (FSB) information indicating that the Skolkovo Fund may have misappropriated 3.5 billion rubles allotted from the federal budget for the Skolkovo technology cluster's development, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on February 28.
"In particular, the investigation is studying information it received from the FSB on misappropriation by the Skolkovo Foundation of 3.5 billion rubles allotted for the development of the technology cluster, which was deposited with Metcombank, affiliated with Skolkovo President Viktor Vekselberg," Markin said.
"That is, subsidies issued to the Fund from the federal budget for creating the Skolkovo center were held for a long time on this financial institution's deposits," Markin said.
The Foundation said that depositing available funds with Metcombank between August 5 and December 30, 2010 earned it 79.5 million rubles in interest.
"The wishes to stress that its main account is in Metcombank is a well-known fact. And that this credit institution consistently ranks among the top 100 Russian commercial banks, and possesses a high credit ratings as judged by international credit rating agencies," the Foundation said.
Cyprus-based Winterlux Ltd. holds nearly 100% in Metcombank registered in Kamensk-Uralsky, the Sverdlovsk region, and Winterlux is controlled by Vekselberg through a chain of other companies including Mendo Portfolio, Renova Industries, and Renova Holding. Metcombank was ranked 91st in terms of the size of its assets on the Interfax-100 ranking list in 2012. The volume of deposits kept with it by legal entities as of January 1, 2013 was 7.8 billion rubles.
In addition to the depositing of money with Metcombank, the investigation is also looking into the Fund\'s granting over 400 million rubles to an organization that was not a member of the Skolkovo project, the Investigative Committee spokesman said.
"This looks like it is referring to funds allocated to set up the SkolTech university, one of the cornerstones of the future innovation center," the Foundation said.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.