Russia’s third largest bank moves money from Europe to Moscow for safe keeping
Published time: May 13, 2014 09:02
Gazprombank transferred client funds from Belgium and Luxembourg back to home turf, to protect against any future sanctions.
The securities were moved from Euroclear Bank (Brussels) and Clearstream Banking (Luxembourg) to the Russian Central Depository at the end of April.
The move is intended to protect customers from any forthcoming sanctions and prevent a situation where clients’ funds are frozen, the statement on the website said.
“The transfer was done to prevent possible restrictions on transactions of customers’ assets that are kept in international deposits and settlement systems,” it stated. In preparation for sanctions, in March, the bank moved nearly $7 billion to Russia’s Central Bank for safe keeping.
Russia’s Central Bank held $486 billion in international reserves as of April 1 this year, $40 billion less than one year earlier, when holdings stood at about $528 billion.
The last round of US sanctions included 17 companies, but didn’t target Gazprombank or Vnesheconombank (VEB), both state-owned lending institutions. In March, the US imposed sanctions on Bank Rossiya and its owner, Yury Kovalchuk - both have stakes in Gazprom subsidiaries.
The bank’s total assets are $110.5 billion (3.9 trillion rubles) according to RIA bank ratings. The bank is 49.6 percent owned by a Gazprom-affiliated pension fund, Gazfond, 35.5 percent owned by Gazprom OAO, and 10.2 percent owned by VEB, Russia’s state development bank.
Bank customers will still be able to make transactions with other securities that were previously stored in the European banks.
Gazprombank is chaired by Aleksey Miller, the CEO of Gazprom. Igor Sechin, the head of Rosneft, Russia’s other major state-owned oil company, was included on the previous sanctions list. Miller was not.
Many US politicians have advocated placing both Gazprom and Rosneft under sanctions, in order to strike at the heart of the Russian economy – its energy.
UN-marked strike helicopter ‘used by Kiev against militia’ sparks scandal
Published time: May 14, 2014 07:33
Edited time: May 14, 2014 09:04
Edited time: May 14, 2014 09:04
The UN has voiced concerns over the apparent use of UN-marked helicopters by Kiev troops in their military operation against Donetsk regional militia. A video of a white-painted Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter with UN logo has emerged.
When inquired about the United Nations’ stance on the use of peacekeeper-marked military hardware in non-peacekeeper operations, the office for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson said such use would violate UN rules.
“It is the responsibility of Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) that provide Contingent Owned Equipment to peacekeeping missions to remove all logos and signage bearing the UN's name once such equipment has been repatriated to the home country or is no longer being used for official UN purposes,” the office told RT.
It added that UN-marked aircraft can be used for missions tasked by the UN and that UN’s Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support is in contact with the Ukrainian authorities to clarify the issue.
A video of a UN-marked Mil Mi-24 strike helicopter was published on Tuesday by LifeNews television. It said its correspondents covering Kiev’s military operation in the Donetsk Region took the video near Kramatorsk. LifeNews said at least three combat Mi-24 and one transport Mi-8 helicopters carrying UN colors were spotted in the area.The Ukrainian military has provided equipment for several UN peacekeeping missions, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Voice of Russia...