Russian Central Bank Chief Echoes GFI’s New Research on Illicit Financial Flows

February 21st, 2013

Bank of Russia Governor: $50 Billion Illegally Flowed Out of Russia in 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – According to media reports, the Governor of the Central Bank of Russia stated Wednesday that roughly $50 billion was illegally siphoned out of Russia in 2012, echoing research published last week by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, which estimated that an annual average of $62 billion was illicitly smuggled out of Russia in recent years.

“Russia has a severe problem with illegal flows of money,” said GFI Director Raymond Baker. “It’s gratifying to see that the Governor of the Central Bank acknowledging it.  That’s the first step to curtailing these outflows.”

Central Bank Governor Sergei Ignatyev continued to explain that the majority of these illicit flows “seem to be controlled by one well-organized group of people,” according to Bloomberg News.

“Claims by the Kremlin later in the day that Ignatyev’s estimates may have been ‘exaggerated,’ were followed by radio-silence from the Central Bank Chief on the topic after he made his initial remarks—despite being asked follow-up questions by reporters,” added Mr. Baker.

“Russia is the most opaque economy we’ve analyzed at GFI, and the Russian people really deserve to have an open and honest discussion about the illicit money flowing into and out of the country.  As our research shows, hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost since the fall of the Soviet Union that could have been used to invest in Russian healthcare, education, and infrastructure. At the same time, more than a half trillion dollars has illegally flowed into the Russian underground economy, fueling crime and corruption.”


Notes to Editors:

  • Click here to read the press release about GFI’s latest report, “Russia: Illicit Financial Flows and the Role of the Underground Economy,” published February 13, 2013.
  • Visit the report website at to learn more and download complete data tables and resources.
  • Or, to download the full PDF of the new report, click here. [PDF | 3.7 MB]
  • Click here to read coverage from Reuters about the Central Bank Chief’s comments.
  • Click here to read coverage from Bloomberg News about the Central Bank Chief’s comments.


Clark Gascoigne
+1 202-293-0740 ext.222


Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system as a means to global development.

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