Sberbank and Pravo.ru: Reputation at Risk

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How can one tell the difference between healthy competition and business partner’s unfair game? In real life it is not always possible. That is why we offer you to take a look at a business case that illustrates what negative effect on business reputation of a global-scale company suspicious links may have.

Suspicious links may be a threat to a joint project

As Russian media informed companies Sberbank and Pravo.ru are going to launch a joint project meant to operate large amounts of business information. It would make operating data and finding much needed information more simple and bankrupts’ creditors work substantially easier. The project’s developers have declared that as of today there are no operable software possessing similar functional features.

Russian media is abuzz about a dubious situation around the Prvavo.ru company that specializes in developing e-systems and software for processing large amounts of data. Also, this company has an online documentation system of its own.

It may be surprising, but lately the media were repeatedly mentioning the company  — that for a long time has been a leader in the legal sphere — in the context of its involvement in disputes over misuse of business information.

Reportedly, on October 24, 2017 the Interfax news agency’s website has been hacked. Attackers have managed to block the company’s computers and servers, they also attempted to break into the sections containing business information. An investigation into this accident has been opened under the Article 273 of the Russian Criminal Code.

Shortly before the attack the Pravo.ru company has received an official caution by the Federal Antimonopoly Service for illicit use of:

  • current contacts;
  • information on business partners;
  • products’ prices etc.

By this document the FAS urged Pravo.ru to stop unfair business practices and using confidential information belonging to ZAO Interfax.

Skeletons in the closet and secrets

By now the caution’s term has expired and the respective file has been removed from the Federal Antimonopoly Service’s website to the archive. It became known that ZAO Interfax has filed an official complaint with the FAS informing of stealing business information; also,  the company suspected in this illegal action was named. V. Gerasimov, the Interfax Executive Director informed that the company’s security service has detected an attempt by one of the company’s former employee at illegal dissemination of confidential information. He added that repeated attempts by Pravo.ru to intrude Interfax’s information system have been registered.

Several sources close to the affected party offered an opinion that there is a certain link between the FAS’s caution and the latest hacking attempts. Kirill Fadeev, the Pravo.ru CEO refused to comment on the situation. Incredible as it may seem, recently a man with the same name was holding a position of a Deputy CEO in Interfax. However, V. Gerasimov when talking to journalists refused to disclose employees personal data.

Business Reputation and Risks

Pravo.ru’s position on the commercial information market is steady. The company and Sberbank have founded a joint venture — the Center for Bankruptcy Technology, OOO. According to the information we obtained K. Fadeev has been appointed the new company’s Director, hired in August 2017. This career move is believed to be linked to the recent hacking attempt at Interfax.

These days the Pravo.ru founder and owner A. Peleving and K. Fadeev are working on the two companies’ (Pravo.ru and Sberbank) joint project called Bankro.TECH. Sberbank’s client base has 145 mln individuals and companies from 21 countries of the world, 50% of the company’s shares belong to Russian and foreign investors.

That is why this business case is of such interest, it bears certain reputational risks for one of the most famous brands on Russia’s banking market.

How could involvement in suspicious projects affect Sberbank’s reputation?

The new joint project that enables fast operations with huge amounts of business information is in fact not very trustworthy. Being a party in a suspicious project jeopardizes the business reputation of Sberbank itself which should thoroughly consider solving this problem at the earliest.

Where would such partnership lead? Would it turn fruitful or fatal? We will learn it soon…