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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 Best Efforts Bank

The Bank of Russia has established facts of manipulation in the market for ordinary shares of PJSC Best Efforts Bank (hereinafter, ‘Shares’) in organised trading from December 2016 to May 2018.

The operations consisting in manipulation of the market of the Shares were conducted by two independent groups of individuals.

The first group (Group 1) comprised Gennady Sergeevich Stefanov, Boris Vladimirovich Kaminsky, Oksana Vladimirovna Tolda, Anton Yurievich Logachev, Irina Nikolaevna Vishnyakova, Egor Vladimirovich Kapitanov, and Elena Nikolaevna Surzhikova.

Transactions without a clear economic sense among Group 1 participants were conducted at PJSC Moscow Exchange (hereinafter, the ‘Exchange’) from 31 October 2017 to 21 May 2018 based on instructions with identical price and volume parameters, while counterparties’ orders were entered into the trading system at minimum intervals. The circumstances surrounding the transactions and the nature of trading behaviour are indicative of a collusion between the above-mentioned persons. The actions of Group 1 participants were meant to give the impression of trading activity and led to anomalous Share price growth. As a result, other Share market participants were misled as to the price of the Shares.

The above-mentioned trades over accounts of Group 1 participants were made by G.S. Stefanov, who had entered into an information service agreement (hereinafter, the ‘Agreement’) with a major securities market participant (hereinafter, the ‘Company’). As part of the Agreement, G.S. Stefanov, among other things, provided the Company with such services as finding clients who would be ready to enter into a service agreement with the Company and advising them on Company activities. In particular, within the framework of the Agreement, the Company entered into service agreements with individuals comprising Group 1. Moreover, the Company provided G.S. Stefanov with compensation in the form of a percentage of the commission paid to it by clients brought by G.S. Stefanov.

To conduct transactions over Group 1 participants’ accounts, G.S. Stefanov used the software provided to one of Group 1 participants. Trading accounts were connected to the software based on standard powers of attorney executed by Group 1 participants. At the same time, G.S. Stefanov conducted transactions over his own account opened with another professional securities market participant.

The investigation of trades in the Shares market on the Exchange also revealed Shares market manipulation transactions conducted in collusion between Igor Muratovich Takoev and Snezhana Aleksandrovna Zhdanova (Group 2). These persons’ trading accounts were opened with different professional securities market participants. Instructions to conduct mutual transactions from 22 December 2016 to 22 May 2017 were given by I.M. Takoev who obtained a positive financial result from trades with S.A. Zhdanova. These transactions resulted in a significant deviation of the price of Shares.

Operations conducted by Group 1 in the Shares market are classified 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’) and under Clause 6 of Part 1 of Article 5 of the Federal Law. Operations conducted by Group 2 are classified as market manipulation under Clause 2 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, including in line with the provisions of the Russian Federation Code of Administrative Offences.

13 June 2019

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