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24 Mar, 2023 14:01

Kiev labels EU bank ‘sponsor of war’

The move comes in response to Raiffeisen Bank's decision to maintain business operations in Russia
Kiev labels EU bank ‘sponsor of war’

Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has included Austrian banking group Raiffeisen in its list of international sponsors of war.

According to an agency statement on Thursday, the designation is due to the continued operation of the bank in Russia and to its official recognition (through its representative office) of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), which were recognized by Moscow as independent states in February 2022.

NACP expressed discontent with the fact that the Russian branch of Raiffeisen provides favorable credit terms to the Russian military, and that it also uses the wording ‘special military operation’ in its documents.

The Ukrainian agency has included in its notorious list German wholesaler Metro, French retailer Auchan, Italian cement company Buzzi Unicem, and others for the same reason.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, Raiffeisen has also come under pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB), which is urging the Austrian banking group to quit the Russian market. The ECB has been pressuring it to develop a plan for unwinding its business in the sanctioned country, with one of the options being a sale or closure of its Russian affiliate, Reuters reports.

Raiffeisen, which has been operating in Russia since 1996, plays a critical role in the country’s economy, providing a lifeline for euro payments to and from Russia. It’s one of only two foreign banks on the Russian Central Bank’s list of 13 systemically important credit institutions, the other being Italy’s UniCredit.

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