HSBC orders staff to withdraw Russian banks VTB and VEB


LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Britain’s HSBC Bank (HSBA.L) is beginning to sever ties with a host of Russian banks, including the second-biggest, VTB, according to a memo seen by Reuters, as financial institutions begin to implement restrictions on Russia.

The United States, Britain, Europe and Canada on Saturday announced new sanctions against Russia – including blocking some lenders’ access to the international payment system SWIFT – following the invasion Russian from Ukraine. Read more

The advisory opinion from HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, tells staff how they should implement the new global sanctions against Russia.

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Titled “action required” and dated February 27, it highlights the fact that the UK Financial Sanctions Office had authorized “the liquidation of certain transactions involving VTB Bank and certain UK subsidiaries”.

HSBC declined to comment.

HSBC has little direct exposure to Russia, with its chief financial officer telling reporters last Tuesday that it has around 200 employees and annual revenue of $15 million, a fraction of its $50 billion global income. dollars.

The HSBC bank logo is seen in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause//File Photo

As the world’s largest trade finance bank and Europe’s second largest lender, HSBC remains a vital cog in the global banking machine, however, and being cut off from its services is a blow to Russia.

The internal notice also sets out other sanctions imposed in recent days by Britain, the European Union and the United States and lists other Russian companies subject to the sanctions, including the development bank VEB.

As a sign of the extent of the restrictions, HSBC recalls that under US sanctions, an entity owned 50% or more, directly or indirectly, by one or more blocked persons is itself also considered blocked, whether it is whether or not it’s on the sanctions list.

EU sanctions apply a similar rule, HSBC said.

Britain said on Monday it was taking further action against Russia in concert with the United States and the EU, including banning any British entity from transacting with Russia’s central bank, Ministry of Finance and wealth fund. Read more

The London Stock Exchange announced on Friday that it had suspended the membership of VTB unit VTB Capital. Read more

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Additional reporting by Lawrence White, editing by John O’Donnell

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