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Belarus to Audit Credexbank Amid U.S. Money Laundering Claims

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May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Belarus will perform an unscheduled audit of Credexbank, a small, private Minsk-based lender which the U.S. Treasury Department accused of money laundering, the eastern European nation’s central bank said.

“The need for further measures will be considered based on the results of the audit,” the central bank said today on its website. Credexbank has denied any wrongdoing.

The Treasury on May 22 proposed prohibiting American financial institutions from working with Credexbank amid suspicions the bank is “of prime money-laundering concern.”

The bank may have been laundering money since at least 2006 and wired more than $1 billion in a two-month period of 2010 to hundreds of shell corporations, as well as transferring about $10 million to the U.S. using “nested accounts” via European banks and money service businesses in a span of over a year, according to a report published on the Treasury Department’s website.

“Credexbank ascertains the groundlessness of judgments by the U.S. Treasury Department with regard to the bank’s operations, as well as in regard of the very possibility of a minor Belorussian bank playing a role of a key money laundering hub on a worldwide scale,” the lender said in a statement published on its website on May 23.

Credexbank is the 22nd largest of Belarus’s 31 commercial banks by assets. It is owned by the Fribourg, Switzerland-based company Vicpart Holding SA, has a branch office in the Czech Republic and operates a network of five automated tellers, according to information on the bank’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aliaksandr Kudrytski in Minsk, Belarus at akudrytski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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