Vice president of Russia’s leading bank placed on federal wanted list after she absconds following major financial fraud charge

Marina Rakova, the vice president of Sberbank, has been placed on the federal wanted list by Russian law enforcement after being charged in absentia with embezzlement. She is suspected to have gone abroad, fearing prosecution.

According to a source cited by news agency TASS, the investigation also plans to put Rakova on the international wanted list.

Prior to her work at Sberbank, Rakova was deputy education minister. She allegedly took taxpayers’ money, initially intended for state contracts for a federal education program, and sent it to the Fund for New Forms of Education Development, where she was the CEO.

Rakova is suspected of embezzling more than 50 million rubles ($685,000) and faces up to 10 years in prison. According to REN TV, the Fund for New Forms of Education Development was allocated as much as 2.837 billion rubles ($39 million) during her time in the ministry, meaning the current charges may just be the tip of the iceberg.

On Wednesday, her office and home were searched by law enforcement. One day later, she failed to turn up for questioning and turned off her mobile phone, it was reported.

On Thursday, a Moscow court also detained three of Rakova’s former colleagues, Maxim Inkin, Evgeny Zak, and Kristina Kryuchkova, who are also suspected of taking part in the fraud.

Sberbank is a Russian state-owned financial institution and is the country’s most popular bank. Earlier this year, Forbes declared it to be the “most reliable” of all banks operating in the country.

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