Germany ‘combats efforts to block Sberbank’ Business

Germany has been accused of resisting efforts to bar Russia’s biggest bank from the international payments system Swift as calls for tougher sanctions against Vladimir Putin grow.

In meetings over the past few days, Berlin has repeatedly pushed back on plans to include state-backed lender Sberbank on a list of financial institutions that have been kicked out of the banking system, according to officials familiar with the talks. and documents seen by Bloomberg.

Kiev said last month that its Western allies would have the blood of innocent Ukrainians on their hands if Europe did not restrict Russia’s access to the world’s main payment clearing system, which underpins most transactions international markets and is crucial for global trade.

Western countries have since pulled some Russian banks out of Swift, despite fears that using the system as an economic weapon could also come at a cost to Europe. Sberbank was excluded from the initial list as part of a decision to protect energy-related transactions.

However, calls are now mounting for tougher action against Putin and his inner circle, with Germany’s resistance to adding Sberbank to the list threatening to spark a row.

Berlin has long urged caution, initially fearing that Swift’s ejection from Russia could affect German finances and leave the country unable to pay for its gas purchases from Russia. As tougher sanctions loom, Germany has reiterated its concerns, Bloomberg reported.

The Swift system, headquartered in Belgium, is a bank-owned cooperative and is governed by EU law, which means a decision to kick out Russia cannot be taken by the UK or the United States without the support of Europe.

This is not Germany’s only area of ​​resistance. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has publicly opposed sanctions targeting Russia’s energy sector, saying oil and gas supplies were of “essential importance”.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-09 20:49:31

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