• 18/06/2024 11:58

Austrian authorities warn Raiffeisen Bank against agreement with Russian oligarch Deripaska – Reuters

Austrian authorities have called on Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) to end an agreement related to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, fearing a negative reaction from the United States. Reuters reports this with a link to its sources.

Austrian authorities warn Raiffeisen Bank against an agreement with Russian oligarch Deripaska — Reuters

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RBI remains the largest Western bank in Russia and plans to acquire a stake in the Strabag construction group, linked to Oleg Deripaska, for €1.5 billion. The agreement was supposed to help the Austrian bank withdraw revenues blocked in Russia.

In recent weeks, officials at the Austrian central bank warned the RBI about the agreement, which could lead to negative consequences from the United States.

The fall shares

RBI shares fell almost 4% to close at €17.38.

Previously, the US Treasury Department condemned the Austrian bank's intentions to sign the agreement, since sanctions were imposed against Deripaska.

Other Austrian officials also privately warned the bank against this agreement, believing that the United States could regard it as a violation of sanctions, they add. two agency sources.

Punishment

One of them clarified that the US authorities warned the RBI that American regulators are agreeing will not approve and may punish the Austrian bank if it is concluded.

It is not yet clear what this punishment might be, but US authorities have the power to fine the bank or even resort to drastic steps, cutting off its access to payments in dollars.

The agreement also worries Austrian officials, given international criticism of the country for being too friendly attitude towards Russia, notes Reuters.

At the same time, an RBI spokesperson noted in a comment that “the acquisition of Strabag shares remains subject to RBI’s internal review,” adding that the bank “will not purchase shares from either Mr. Deripaska or any other person or entity subject to sanctions.”

Deripaska’s press secretary assured that the Russian oligarch “had nothing in common with Strabag for a long time” and would not comment on the agreement.

RBI profit in Russia

< p>Raiffeisen Bank International has enjoyed huge profits since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine thanks to its position as the largest European lender remaining in Russia.

In the nine months of 2023, more than half of the bank's profits came from its Russian unit. The bank is one of the largest creditors in Central and Eastern Europe.

Bypassing sanctions

In December 2023, the Ministry of Finance wrote that Raiffeisen Bank International entered into an asset exchange agreement with Oleg Deripaska , which allows you to bypass EU sanctions restrictions and transfer to the Russian his frozen capital amounting to 1.5 billion euros.

RBI said that its Russian subsidiary will make a cash payment to Deripaska in exchange for his 28% in Austrian Strabag. one of the largest construction companies in Europe.

Deripaska

Oleg Deripaska is the founder of aluminum production companies Rusal, Basic Element and En+ Group.

Share The Russian's Strabag, which he owned through his company Rasperia, was frozen last year by the EU in response to the bloc naming him as a Kremlin aide in the war against Ukraine.

minfin.com.ua

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