Russian Deputy President Alexander Torshin, who has fallen under American sanctions, leaves the post. His former assistant, Maria Butina, was arrested in the United States. Torshin's departure from the Central Bank after the "Butin Case" was a matter of time, the BBC source said.
Alexander Torshin leaves the central bank in connection with his retirement, the regulator said on November 30. Torshin has held this office since January 2015, on November 27, he has turned 65.
In July this year, Torshin's former assistant Maria Butina was arrested in the United States, accused of being a foreign agent without a petition to promote Russia's interest in the United States. Right after that, Torshin went on vacation and did not appear at work all summer and fall, BBC interviewer near the central bank said. According to him, Torshin's departure from the Central Bank was pre-determined.
"In the Central Bank, his hobby (Torshin, backed by legalization of short-armed weapons) was an unpleasant surprise to everyone. He traveled to America during his vacation, and the Central Bank never sent there, he warned no one, the central bank avoids politics, and his activities outside the bank were embarrassed by his leadership, "said the source.
After he was arrested, Torshin did not comment on the media. It was not available by phone, and the employee of his desk at the Central Bank in July and August told the BBC that Torshin was on long leave until September. In September, the receptionist said Torshin, without leaving his leave, went to the hospital.
What's Torshin at the Central Bank?
The central bank Torshin was called after the "black Tuesday" in December 2014, when the ruble dropped dramatically against the dollar and the euro. Panic on the foreign exchange market has led to the fact that the Moscow exchange rate rose over 80 rubles, and the euro reached 100 rubles (while at the beginning of December the rate was 50 and 60 rubles).
In order to investigate the causes of collapse of laundry in the name of the deputy, an interparliamentary commission was created. Senator Jevgeny Tarlo accused the central bank of failing to meet its obligations to secure the rights of Russian citizens to protect property rights.
Vice President of the Russian Bank, Ksenia Yudaeva, went to Dum and the Federation of Federations, where he tried to prove that the central bank was not guilty of collapse of laundry, the BBC's interviewer near the regulator said. But the central bank failed to announce their position so they decided to take Torshina as negotiator.
"He does not take part in making decisions on Central Bank policy and other decisions, has a purely representative role – to go to the working groups, and so on," the source said.
The central bank sounded a lot of criticism and Torshin took over as an "experienced communicator" who could correct the situation, noted Vice President of State Treasury Committee in Anatoly Aksakov's Financial Market in 2015.
Prior to joining the Central Bank, he was the first deputy chairman of the Federal Alliance. He then reported that at Torshin's central bank would be responsible for the interaction of regulators with deputies and senators.
Earlier in the 1990s, Torshin had already worked in the central bank. He then monitored the issues of interaction with state bodies and journalists.
Breakfast on the party
Even as a senator, Torshin was known as an active supporting legalization of short-lived (so-called Pocket) weapons. Torshin is an honorary member of the Russian public organization "The Right to Weapons" and a member of the United States National Rifle Association (NSA).
Torshin's passion for weapon-related issues was actively debated in the context of the alleged involvement of Russian authorities in the US elections.
In April 2017, the Spanish newspaper El Pais wrote about sources at the White House that Torshin had met with US President Donald Trump after the White House breakfast prayer – the annual event that Trump attends.
Torshin Assistant and Member of the Armed Forces Organization, Maria Butina, explained that the breakfast format did not include communication with the Trump Administration.
Torshin then denied plans to meet with the US president. He reported that he had been praying for 12 years as a private person during the holidays. The BBC's Central Bank correspondent says the deputy chairman has not warned anyone about his visit to breakfast with Trump.
In January 2018, the US media reported that Torshin came to the FBI for membership in the NSA. According to media reports, the FBI investigated whether Russian money was invested into Donald Trump's fund through donations to the NSA.
In April this year, Torshin was included in the list of US sanctions.
In August 2016, the Bloomberg agency wrote a report by the Spanish police, describing the activities of Torshin before the appointment of the deputy chairman of the Central Bank. Torshin helped members of the organized crime group Tagansky to money laundering through banks and real estate transactions, according to Spanish investigators. Torshin himself said there was "nothing" to comment on this case because no indictment was filed. Bloomberg referred to the source of the Spanish police that the Spanish authorities will not follow Torshin, since the Russian authorities are not cooperating with the investigation of other states when it comes to senior Russian officials. Bloomberg's publication in the Central Bank was called unfounded.
Torshin's assistant Maria Butina was arrested in the United States in July 2018. He is indicted for work as a foreign agent without proper registration. Several days before that, an indictment was issued in the United States of America in the case of 12 GRU officers charged with hacking into the US Democratic Party machines.
Reuters reported that during the year 2015, Butina would attend Torshin's meetings with Deputy Chairman Stanley Fisher, Federal Reserve System, and Deputy Nathan Sheets Treasury Secretary.
The US Justice Minister reported that Butina was in the interest of a senior official who later assumed office at the Russian bank. Officially, his name was not called. Reuters and the Washington Post wrote that this official could be Torshin.
A 29-year-old Russian woman faces 15 years of imprisonment. At the end of November, the Bloomberg agency reported that Butina's defense was almost ready to handle the investigation.