US lifts sanctions on Turkish arm of Russia’s biggest lender
Istanbul-based DenizBank fell under sanctions because it is more than 50 percent (99.85 percent) owned by Sberbank, which acquired it in September 2012. The Department of the Treasury sanctions apply to any bank that is majority-owned by a sanctioned Russian bank.
Sberbank acquired Denizbank, Turkey’s eighth largest, from Belgium’s Dexia for $3.5 billion, as part of an effort to grow outside the former USSR.
Blacklisted banks are banned from raising long-term, more than 30-day, debt on US capital markets. US citizens are also not allowed to do loan business with sanctioned entities.
Five major Russian state-owned banks – Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB) and Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) – have been stopped from long-term borrowing on European and US markets. Others, such as 14th largest Bank Rossiya, as well as smaller banks, Bank of Moscow, SMP, Sobinbank and InvestCapitalBank, have also come under fire.
The sanctions targeted businessmen and politicians closely linked to the Ukraine crisis, and were announced shortly after Crimea reunited with Russia. The US and EU do not recognize Crimea as part of Russia, whereas Moscow maintains the West is aggravating the crisis in Ukraine.