Societe Generale’s (SocGen) Russian unit CEO, Vladimir Golubkov, has been, reportedly, detained in Moscow on suspicion of receiving bribes.
According to Reuters, SocGen’s Russia unit – Rosbank – CEO Golubkov was held "on suspicion of receiving illegal monetary compensation" totaling US$159,600, and was also suspected of soliciting a bribe of US$1.5 million to grant a loan.
A second senior Rosbank manager has also, reportedly, been held.
The questioning of Golubkov follows promises by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to crack down on corruption in business and public life.
The move deals a blow to the French bank’s hopes of achieving a turnaround on its primary foreign market, being one of the few Western banks still present in Russia.
SocGen entered the Russian market at high cost – with most Western banks exiting due to market dominance by local players such as Sberbank and VTB – and has reaffirmed its commitment to Russia over the past decade.
Banks such as Barclays and HSBC pulled out in recent years, having paid up to four times book value to get a foothold in Russia.