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The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia)

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Facts of manipulation in the market for ordinary shares of PJSC ASKO-STRAKHOVANIE established

The Bank of Russia has established facts of manipulation in/during organised trading (hereinafter, the Exchange) in the market for ordinary shares of PJSC ASKO-STRAKHOVANIE in 2017–2018 (hereinafter, the Shares) by a group of persons from the Chelyabinsk Region.

Transactions with the Shares were conducted on the Exchange across the broker accounts of OK—Finance LLC (TIN 7453268383), Gleb A. Ivanov, Artem A. Kryukov, Arseniy V. Bakaev, Mikhail A. Del, Mikhail A. Dobrovolskiy, Sergei Ye. Grigoriev, Elena A. Zhuravleva, Ivan I. Fait, Igor O. Zvonarev, Svetlana V. Ivanova, and Alexander N. Chernyshov (hereinafter, the Group).

The operations were coordinated by A.A. Kryukov, employee of OK—Finance LLC, a company affiliated with Aleksey D. Ovakimyan, a member of the Supervisory Board and an insider of PJSC ASKO-STRAKHOVANIE, who, among other things, used special software allowing similar trade operations to be conducted across several accounts. Individuals’ trading accounts were connected to the software provided by A.A. Kryukov on the basis of powers of attorney issued by a professional securities market participant.

Over the period from 11 July 2017 through 27April 2018, transactions involving this Group represented over 50% of the total Shares trading volume. Shares transactions conducted inside the Group repeatedly led to considerable deviations in the trading volume and Shares price on the Exchange. Besides, the transactions conducted by A.A. Kryukov, G.A. Ivanov and OK—Finance LLC maintained the Share price at a level that differed considerably from the level that would have been otherwise achieved in the absence of such transactions. As a result, other Shares market participants were misled as to the Share price, and the mechanism of fair pricing on the Exchange was distorted.

The established relations between these persons, including those with the Share issuer, as well as the mechanism of executing trades on the Exchange in the period following the Shares’ placement, shows that the Group’s operations were aimed at the artificial creation and maintenance of trading activity in the Shares market.

These operations, conducted by the Group in the Shares market, are qualified as market manipulation under Clause 2 of Part 1 of Article 5 of Federal Law No. 224-FZ, dated 27 July 2010, ‘On Countering the Misuse of Insider Information and Market Manipulation and Amending Certain Laws of the Russian Federation’ (hereinafter, the Federal Law). The actions performed by OK—Finance LLC, G.A. Ivanov and A.A. Kryukov are also qualified as market manipulation under Clause 6 of Part 1 of Article 5 of the Federal Law.

The Bank of Russia has taken a set of measures to put an end to the violations of the Federal Law by persons involved in the Shares market manipulation, inter alia in line with the provisions of the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences.

The Bank of Russia calls for close control of clients’ operations by professional securities market participants in order to eliminate all and any chance of quasi-trust management on the basis of powers of attorney and the associated risks of violating the Federal Law.

22 May 2019

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