On March 7, the Board of the NBU decided to revoke the banking license from Ibox Bank JSC. At the same time, a decision was made to liquidate the bank.
The reason for the liquidation was the systematic violation by the bank of the requirements of the legislation in the field of preventing and combating the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, the financing of terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, the bank is accused of improper verification of high-risk clients (providing services for organizing and holding sports poker competitions) and improper work with internal documents on combating the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime. Over the past two years, the NBU has repeatedly applied measures of influence to the bank due to violations in the field of financial monitoring.
At the end of February, the NBU announced abuses in the banking sector using a gambling miscoding scheme. 9 banks were allegedly involved in it, and Ibox Bank was among the leaders in terms of profit. Miscoding is the establishment by the bank of a merchant code (MerchantCategoryCode; MCC) that does not correspond to the current type of business activity. This helps mask payments from gambling. The gambling business allegedly brought UAH 10 billion of turnover “into the shadows” per month, they said in the Verkhovna Rada. According to the NV resource, the annual turnover of the gambling market in Ukraine is UAH 180 billion. Of this amount, the players, thanks to the use of banks (probably in the dark), hide UAH 54 billion, and the state budget annually loses UAH 10 billion.
According to the NBU, the share of Ibox Bank amounted to only 0.1% of the assets of solvent banks. Therefore, its withdrawal from the market will not affect the stability of the Ukrainian banking system. In addition, each depositor of the bank will receive compensation from the Deposit Guarantee Fund for individuals in the full amount of the deposit. Interest accrued as of the end of the day preceding the day the bank’s withdrawal from the market began will also be compensated.
However, the closure of Ibox Bank may have a negative impact on the clients of another bank – Monobank. The fact is that the liquidated bank served an extensive network of iBox terminals, which allowed replenishing Monobank cards without commission, and were also used to make various payments. The iBox terminal network has suspended its work, the iBox website also does not provide payment services.
Monobank has already informed its customers that due to the revocation of the license from iBox Bank JSC, METAPAY LLC (the operator of the iBox terminal network) temporarily does not accept card top-ups. The company is looking for opportunities to conclude an agreement with another partner bank, and this takes time. In these circumstances, Monobank advises replenishing cards with cash in other ways. This can be done without a commission in the networks of EasyPay and City24 terminals, as well as through the cash desks of partner banks “Universal Bank”, “A-Bank” and “Ukrgasbank”.