Russian gangsters and NYC banks
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Thu Aug 19 07:41:22 MDT 1999
NY Times, August 19, 1999
Activity at Bank Raises Suspicions of Russian Mob Tie
By RAYMOND BONNER with TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN
Millions of dollars have been channeled through the Bank of New York in the
last year in what is believed to be a major money laundering operation by
Russian organized crime, law enforcement officials say.
>From October through March some $4.2 billion, in more than 10,000
transactions, passed through one account, investigators said.
But because the account has remained open to help a continuing
investigation by the Federal authorities, investigators estimate that as
much as $10 billion may have flowed through the bank in that account and
related ones since early last year.
Investigators say the transactions seem to add up to one of the largest
money laundering operations ever uncovered in the United States, with vast
sums of money moving in and out of the bank in a day. But they are quick to
point out that the inquiry is still in its early stages and that they do
not yet know the full scale of the operation or where the money ended up.
Wednesday the Bank of New York said it had suspended two employees whose
names had surfaced in the investigation. Both are senior officers in the
bank's Eastern European division and are married to Russian businessmen,
one of whom is believed by investigators to have controlled one of the
The suspensions of the two women, Natasha Gurfinkel Kagalovsky of New York,
and Lucy Edwards of London, followed questions about the investigation from
The New York Times. The employees have been suspended pending completion of
"The Bank of New York has been cooperating with the office of the United
States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in a confidential
investigation of the use of bank facilities to transfer funds from Russia
to other countries," the bank said in a statement.
"There are no allegations of wrongdoing by the bank," it said, adding that
no customer or bank funds had been lost.
An American Government official who follows money laundering said, "What we
have here is the penetration of a major U.S. organization by Russian
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