Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict
Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is being probed by the US sanctions authority over its Russian business, Reuters has reported.
Last month, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) asked RBI to “clarify payments business and related processes maintained by RBI in light of the recent developments related to Russia and Ukraine.”
According to a source, the OFAC sought details of RBI’s exposure in Russia, the partially occupied Donbass region of Ukraine, and Syria.
The bank was also queried about the transactions and activity of specific clients.
The US agency had asked for a response by the end of February, the source said, adding that RBI’s attorneys negotiated an extension by promising to send the answers in three tranches.
RBI plans to provide the first batch of information in early April, the second in May, and the third instalment in early June.
In a statement to the news agency, RBI said that it was cooperating with OFAC and that the request was not the result of a particular transaction or business.
Furthermore, the lender claimed to have procedures in place to guarantee adherence to sanctions.
Although RBI has never been sanctioned, two people with direct knowledge of the situation said that European financial regulators in charge of overseeing the bank are concerned about the January information request because it raises the possibility that RBI may eventually face sanctions.
RBI is one of the few European banks that continue to operate in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago.
The Austrian bank is on the Russian central bank’s list of 13 “systemically important credit institutions”.
Last year, RBI reported a net profit of around €3.8bn, with over €2bn which came from its Russian business, the report said.