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Postal Service targets pensioners in loans scandal

Published time: February 07, 2012 17:29
Edited time: February 07, 2012 21:31

Modernized post office No. 21 in Vladivostok (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Ankov)

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Russia’s Postal Service has been ripping off pensioners and students, giving them loans at a weekly interest rate of over 53.3 per cent. The shocking discovery was made by Russian bloggers, who published one of the Postal Service’s advertisements.

The ads were spread through local postal offices offering micro loans. A simple recalculation clearly shows that the annual interest rates of the loans reached a staggering 2,771 per cent.

Pensioners were seduced into the dubious deals by colorful descriptions of what they could do with the money: from having new dentures made to bribing the army so that their grandchildren will not be conscripted.

The pictures illustrating the ads were illegally taken from a website belonging to the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and the Scottish social help website. The Postal Service said that they were intermediaries between the bank and the customers.

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<i>Image from minizaim.ru</i>
Image from minizaim.ru
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“Russian law forbids the postal service from issuing any loans to its customers,”

the service’s spokesperson said.

“Any organization can come to us and sign an agreement allowing them to issue loans through our loan facilities. So it’s wrong to say that it was the Postal Service that offered the loans at such interest rates.”

The website of the organization offering the micro loans in question was immediately shut down once the news spread. Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich promised to take the investigation of the issue under his personal control.

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