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Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, leaves Europe

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The Sberbank group, the main Russian bank, announced on Wednesday that it would withdraw from Europe following the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States because of the invasion of Ukrainian territory.

“Sberbank has decided to withdraw from the European market. Subsidiary banks of the group face an abnormal outflow of funds and a threat to the safety of employees and branches,” the bank said in a statement released by the Russian agency TASS.

Added to this reason are restrictions imposed internally by the Kremlin, which have limited the outflow of foreign currency, which will prevent European subsidiaries from having access to liquidity. The Russian banking group also assures that “the subsidiaries of Sberbank have capital with quality assets, so that customer deposits are secured in accordance with local legislation”.

On Wednesday, the Austrian financial regulator announced that it had banned the business activities of Sberbank Europe, a subsidiary of Sberbank, at the request of the European Central Bank (ECB), as it considered revoking the Russian bank’s license in the country. .

Sberbank Europe, based in Vienna, currently operates in eight countries of the block: Germany, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, being responsible, at the end of 2021, for the management of 13 billion euros of assets.

After the sanctions imposed by the West, Sberbank lost its status as a correspondent bank, so its transactions were limited. The move comes two days after the ECB warned of risks at three companies linked to the Russian bank, including Sberbank Europe AG.

In a statement, the entity headed by Christine Lagarde said it had analyzed “Sberbank Europe AG and its two subsidiaries in the banking union”, noting that these entities “are bankrupt or are likely to go bankrupt due to the deterioration of their liquidity situation. .

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