Almost $50 billion left Russia illegally in 2012: central bank

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February 20, 2013 5:42 PM EST

Nearly $50 billion (32 billion pounds) was transferred out of Russia illegally in 2012 and more than half this sum may have been controlled by a single group of companies, the central bank said on Wednesday.

Sergei Ignatyev, chairman of the Bank of Russia, was citing the findings of a study that the bank said it would publish later on Wednesday. Ignatyev, who retires in June, was also due to testify to the upper house of parliament.

"You get the impression that they (half the transfers) are all controlled by one well-organised group of people," Sergei Ignatyev, chairman of the Bank of Russia, told the Vedomosti daily in an interview.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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