THE WAGES OF SIN, ER WAGES FOR SIN – PATRIARCH KIRILL PRESENTS STATE DUMA WITH INITIAL PRAYER OFFERING (IPO)
By John Helmer, Moscow
When His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia (lead image, left) made a speech to the State Duma last week, it was both more, and less, than a case of preaching to the converted.
This is because investigations by the Central Bank, the Deposit Insurance Agency of Russia, a handful of Russian reporters and whistleblower churchmen have revealed evidence that the Church has been operating elaborate schemes for converting state funds into private profits, causing a string of Church-controlled banks to go into bankruptcy, and then into state-funded bailouts. Taxpayer and state budget funds, and cash belonging to state corporations, have been moved through deposits in these banks, supervised by the patriarch himself, into political donations to United Russia and other groups of parliamentary deputies; into construction contracting at church properties; and into related-party loans and investments which have disappeared offshore, never to be recovered or repaid.
Of six Russian banks in which the Church has large shareholdings and control stakes since 1995, five have gone bust; been delicensed by the Central Bank; or been charged with criminal fraud, embezzlement and money-laundering offences. In three of the most recent Church bank insolvencies, Vneshprombank (VPB) in October 2016, Peresvet in December 2016, and Ergobank two weeks ago, the gap between assets and liabilities is already believed to be at least Rb 300 billion ($5.1 billion). State auditors are expecting to count more money lost in the black hole. That is more money than Kirill is asking the State Duma to refinance for the Church from the 2016 budget, Central Bank reserves, and capital of the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA).
The deputies of United Russia, the majority party in parliament, aren’t saying no; they aren’t inquiring either. (more…)