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May 12, 2022

Japan freezes assets of Russia’s Sberbank and Alfa-Bank

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The Japanese government has frozen the assets of Sberbank and Alfa Bank in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Notably, Sberbank is believed to be Russia’s largest government-owned bank, while Alfa-Bank is among the top private banks in the country.

Along with the asset freeze, a ban on new investments in Russia also came into force, which will impact both new and existing operations of Japanese firms in Russia.

According to the ministry of finance, Japan invested $479m in Russia in 2021.

As per the Japanese government’s announcement, which was made earlier this week, other than Sberbank and Alfa-Bank seven other banks and their subsidiaries are subject to an asset freeze in Japan.

These banks include VEB.RF, Promsvyazbank, Bank Rossiya, VTB Bank, Sovcombank, Novicombank and Bank Otkritie.

Japan will also “join in with efforts to isolate Russia from the international financial system and the global economy such as excluding selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system,” the statement read.

Additionally, Japan has decided to freeze the assets of Belarusian banks including Belagroprombank, Bank Dabrabyt and Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus and their subsidiaries in Japan.

Earlier, the US imposed full blocking sanctions on Russia’s Sberbank and Alfa-Bank and their subsidiaries.

The latest development comes as the European Union prepares a new package of sanctions that will de-SWIFT Sberbank and three other key Russian banks.

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