Misinformers SMSing about meltdown of three Kazakhstan banks found 20 февраля 2014, 14:16
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The General Prosecutor’s Office has tracked down the groups of people creating false rumours of the bankruptcy of three Kazakhstan banks. It is now being decided whether a criminal case will be initiated against them, Tengrinews reports.
The day before yesterday the Kazakhstan banks, especially their Almaty and Astana offices, suffered a massed withdrawal of deposits triggered by a wave of rumours spread via text messages from anonymous senders. It is unclear who was behind the defamation campaign, but it was clearly well orchestrated.
“At present time the law enforcement authorities are continuing to identify the people, who were involved in the disinformation campaign undermining the financial situation of banks. Some of the initiators have already been tracked down. The banks have already filed the lawsuits and it is now being decided whether a criminal case is going to be initiated against the group of people,” the official representative of the General Prosecutor’s Office Nurdaulet Suindikov said.
He promised that the campaigners would be brought to financial or other liability prescribed by the Kazakhstan legislation, including, possibly, criminal persecution.
The General Prosecutor’s Office believes that the misleading information has caused a massive damage to the banks. “The information caused panic among the banks’ clients and mass money withdrawals from the bank accounts. This harmed the core banks of the country and created social tensions. Besides, they undermined the population's trust to the Kazakhstan banks,” Suindikov said.
He stressed that the misleading information spread by the group of Kazakhstan residents was completely and utterly groundless. And their actions are qualified as distribution of knowingly false information that was intended to destabilize the situation in the country's banking sector.
People started receiving the anonymous messages via WhatsApp on February 18, shortly after the National bank of Kazakhstan devaluated the tenge exchange rate on February 11. The messages said that three large-scaled banks of Kazakhstan - Kaspi Bank, Center Credit and Alliance - would declare their bankruptcy shortly and advised people to withdraw their deposits from the banks.
The same day Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the National Bank, declared that the information was false, unreliable and provocative, and called people to remain calm.
Kaspi bank set a reward of $500 000 for provision of information about the initiators of the misleading SMS campaign. But these is no information on whether anyone has already claimed the money.
By Renat Tashkinbayev