The decision to preserve ties with Moscow comes at a time when the US has launched an inquiry over RBI’s links with Russia. Austrian officials are defending RBI in Europe and Washington, saying they have been unfairly singled out.

The bank has not yet outlined its exit plans from Russia’s market to European Central Bank (ECB) supervisors. Any move to leave Russia will need the approval of Russia’s central bank, the Finance Ministry and even Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, if RBI needs to sell its Russian subsidiary.

“The RBI Group will continue to progress potential transactions which would result in the sale or spin-off of Raiffeisenbank Russia and deconsolidation of Raiffeisenbank Russia from the RBI Group”, the bank said in a statement in April.

“We are committing to further reducing business activity in Russia whilst we continue to progress such potential transactions,” it added.

In May 2023, a coalition of 29 NGOs posted an open letter to the CEO of RBI, Johann Strobl, urging the bank to exit Russia and do so without transferring valuable assets to the Russian state.

In 2022, RBI earned over €2bn from its Russian subsidiary.

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Ever since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, over 1,000 companies have curtailed their operations in Russia, according to a company tracker updated by the Yale School of Management. Only a few dozen companies had announced their departure when the list was first published on 28 February 2022.