America issues warning to EU bank over operating with Russia


(MENAFN) According to reports from Reuters on Wednesday, the United States Treasury has issued a stern warning to Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), indicating potential restrictions on the Austrian lender's access to the American financial system due to its ongoing operations in Russia amidst Western sanctions.

Despite the sanctions imposed by Western nations since the onset of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, RBI has chosen to maintain its presence in Russia, facilitating euro and dollar transactions to and from the country. Notably, Russia's central bank has listed RBI as one of the 13 systemically important credit institutions within its jurisdiction.

In a letter dated May 6, United States Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo reportedly expressed apprehension regarding RBI's purported expansion in Russia, contradicting the bank's earlier assurances of scaling back its activities in the country. The correspondence, seen by Reuters, highlights Adeyemo's concerns about RBI's actions posing a potential threat to United States national security.

Of particular concern is the risk of RBI facing restricted access to the United States financial system, with Adeyemo highlighting the ramifications outlined in an executive order issued by President Joe Biden in December. The order stipulates secondary sanctions on foreign financial institutions engaging in transactions with the Russian military industry.

Additionally, Adeyemo raised apprehensions about RBI's involvement in a deal with sanctioned Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska. The Treasury's second-highest-ranking official underscored the severity of the situation, emphasizing the potential crisis that could ensue for any bank facing restricted access to the United States dollar.

The warning to RBI underscores the heightened scrutiny faced by financial institutions navigating geopolitical tensions between Russia and Western nations, with implications for their global operations and compliance with international sanctions regimes.

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