Mikhail Fridman's Gullible Clients Fund

The new Alfa-Bank share can mislead customers for the sake of stuffing the pockets of Mikhail Fridman and Co. Should the FAS take a closer look at it?


The new Alfa-Bank share can mislead customers for the sake of stuffing the pockets of Mikhail Fridman and Co. Should the FAS take a closer look at it?

No sooner had the owners of Alfa Group Mikhail Fridman and Peter Aven returned "to bow" to Russia than their Alfa Bank hastened to promote a new "action," which could be a banal deception of consumers - namely, potential clients of the bank from small and medium-sized businesses.

We are talking about the "Fund of Considerable Business" in the amount of 100 million rubles, funds from which will allegedly be played among businessmen. However, legally there is no such person, so the FAS may be interested in the situation. Why? Black PR is also PR...

Details - in the material of the correspondent of The Moscow Post.

A Foundation That Doesn't Exist

In fact, the campaign "Fund of Considerable Business" was launched in the summer, however, apparently, they began to actively promote now, when the oligarchs Fridman and Aven, not finding happiness abroad, decided to return to Russia and personally control the earnings of their structures in our country.

The proposal is simple: if you are a subject of small and medium-sized businesses, you need to open a business account with Alfa-Bank, submit an application with a description of your case (plus a program for its promotion, prospects, etc.), after which some incomprehensible jury will decide whether to provide you with money from the Fund.

There are several dubious moments at once. The fact is that this is stated precisely as the Fund, and the activities of any funds are regulated by the legislation of the Russian Federation. However, such a legal entity - the "Fund of Considerable Business" could not be found in the register of legal entities. The question arises - if 100 million rubles were put in the Fund, then where exactly did this money go? After all, the legal entity itself seems to be gone.

All this smells, at least, a possible violation of the Law on Advertising, than the FAS knows in our country. In addition, the work of the jury can be absolutely opaque. Who will guarantee that the funds, in the end, will go not to the most worthy, but to friends or acquaintances of persons who are somehow connected with Fridman himself and other owners of Alfa Bank?

Mikhail Fridman came up with a new way to pull money from Alfa Bank clients? Photo: https://100biografiy.ru/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/5-30.jpeg

At the same time, the message for small and medium-sized businesses is more than understandable - open accounts with us, screw up in our bank. And for this we can "encourage" you from our ignorance of where the fund came from. Another option is that the Foundation is just a beautiful name for a PR campaign. But that, again, could mislead consumers. FAS, oh, where are you?

To Mislead

In fact, various structures of Alfa Group almost regularly become objects of proceedings by antimonopolists. There is no need to go far for examples: as recently as November 9, the service opened a case on violation of the Law on Advertising against the same Alfa-Bank. It turned out that "the bank's advertising was silent about the significant conditions for providing one of its products and misled consumers." How unexpected!

It was about advertising a loan on one of the TV channels with a minimum rate of 4.5%. However, the form and time of showing footnotes with other conditions prevented the text from being fully perceived. I.e. the consumer could easily skip the conditions prescribed in "small print." And, as they say, get into trouble.

In addition, the bank was also called the "best mobile bank in the country." And who, excuse me, installed this? It turned out, according to some Markswebb. But is this an objective criterion for determining the best? Antitrust officers also thought. In general, this is a real classic of the genre in the advertising market, which is actively used by representatives of the Friedman institution.

Just three days ago, the FAS fined Alfa-Bank, and also following a violation of the Advertising Law. A resident of St. Petersburg complained about the advertising of the bank. He was not satisfied with the offer of 1% cashback on business expenses, acquiring for 1.39% or free RKO at Alfa Bank for six months. "There is no such thing anywhere else," the announcement read.

Alfa-Bank's central office in Moscow. Photo: https://avatars.mds.yandex.net/get-altay/5099617/2a00000181bd2de633f799126c56667f38ea/orig

In other words, a person could simply be misled, as now they can do with small and medium-sized businesses in the case of the Fund. It would seem that on the scale of Alfa-Bank's activities, such advertising "liberties" are trifles. But on the same scale, they can lead to colossal profits of the Friedman structure, because among their potential clients there are quite naive and financially illiterate people.

Lime notaries and disappearing funds

However, there are more serious questions for Alfa-Bank. The blog of the user "Malykhin" on the industry platform Banki.ru contains a scandalous story, the plausibility of which should be found out by law enforcement agencies. We are talking about the alleged write-off from the accounts of Alfa-Bank's client of several hundred dollars without his knowledge.

According to the user, allegedly, when he came to deal with the situation at the bank branch, he was provided with dubious data on the presence of a notarized power of attorney in some persons to handle his accounts. They even showed a scan of a passport in the name of I.B. Nazarov - for which a power of attorney was allegedly issued.

But in further proceedings, according to the user, it turned out that all this was "linden" - and the bank could simply mislead a person. In addition, he claims that in the monetary institution there was a "fake client questionnaire" filled out not with his hand, but with his own passport data. Where could possible fraudsters get his data, if not from a real questionnaire filled out by him with his own hand in the bank?

Let's go straight to the point - the bank refused to return the money transferred by fake power of attorney to the account. The truth had to be sought in court. But the trial court issued a decision that, according to the client, did not correspond to the real materials of the court case. Do the respected Alpha bankers have their own people in the judicial system? Where in reality did the money go and how many more people across the country could suffer from these actions?

Operation A-Club

Now let's move on to an even larger "fish." We are talking about a bank branch in Rostov-on-Don. Famous Rostov journalist Sergei Reznik spoke about her in his Telegram channel. And it concerns the closed club "A-Club" "Alfa-Bank," - a business and intellectual community, as well as directly a division of the bank itself, focused on serving wealthy clients and their family members.

A-Club itself has really been functioning since 2006, its network was located throughout Moscow, and the director was an employee of Alfa Bank Vera Dunaeva. In telephone mode, customers were helped in solving any issue and conducting any banking operation - from searching for payments in other banks to withdrawing cash, and each had his own personal manager - also a bank employee.

However, after the start of a special operation to protect Donbass and draconian sanctions against the banking sector, something has changed. The network claims that allegedly employees of Rostov "Alfa-Bank" offered A-Club clients an exclusive program to place funds in a new privileged project to receive higher income. It was still served "under the sauce" of opposition to Western sanctions.

But this is extremely interesting. After all, Friedman then, we recall, was in London, where he very much tried to get rid of Western sanctions. And at the same time he continued to do business in Ukraine, where until recently he had a whole series of assets. For example, Alfa-Bank Ukraine, as it turned out, helped the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And where is the guarantee that part of the funds received in Russia does not settle abroad now?

Returning to the A-Club, it is alleged that in just a few months from April to mid-May, employees of the Rostov branch of Alfa-Bank JSC collected from gullible VIP clients of the bank - eleven members of the privileged A-Club, about 350 million rubles! But in the end, they allegedly did not receive any interest income. Moreover, the money itself also allegedly went somewhere.

Anton Butenko, manager of the Alfa-Bank branch in Rostov. Photo: Kommersant

The bank's management attributed an amazing situation to the "arbitrariness" of middle managers. Anton Butenko, manager of the Alfa-Bank branch in Rostov, then said that the structure would conduct an internal investigation. Its results, as you might guess, are not reported. And even if the funds eventually return, who will compensate customers for possible losses from interest loss? It turns out that the money lay dead, and employees of the same credit and financial structure could profit from this.

Something suggests that "managers" could act at the suggestion of the bank's management. And those - with the filing or with the complete connivance of its beneficiaries. Apparently, Friedman, who was in London at that moment, did not think at all that he would have to answer clients for this. Whether against the background of these stories it is worth believing this kind of "Funds of considerable business" and "A-Clubs," let everyone decide for himself.