The sanctions announced by the United States of America and the United Kingdom on Russian banks have repercussions reaching Portugal. The state-owned group VTB is a shareholder with a presence in the capital of Banco Finantia, a position that, by the way, it strengthened in 2019. At the moment, European sanctions are unknown, but bank guarantees for passIf it happens along the same lines, it will mainly affect the dividend.
On Thursday, February 24, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced sanctions that include freezing the assets of major Russian banks, with The Guardian reporting that VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, is listed there, as well as its head, Denis Bortnikov. The Associated Press also reported that this was one of the banks that could be subject to sanctions by the USA, which was confirmed this afternoon by Joe Biden. These decisions are a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Headquartered in Russia, VTB Group has a presence in many countries, such as the UK itself, but also in other geographies such as Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Angola, according to Location official. In Portugal, the VTB Group, at the end of 2020, acquired 12.2% of Finantia’s capital, according to Latest bank report and accounts (No report yet for 2021.)
The position has been strengthened in recent years, since in 2018 the situation was 9.7% – at that time the stake was attributed to VTB Capital PE Investment Holding (Cyprus) Ltd.
In 2021, VTB Group achieved the highest level of results in terms of turnover, profitability and efficiency, as announced this week.
In addition, there are Russian names or names associated with VTB in the Finantia Strategic Council, an advisory body whose members are not examined by Banco de Portugal (as in the case of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee): they are Igor Suvorov, Alexei Mitrofanov and Ricardo Urcel. The first two are Russian citizens who have been associated with the financial group for years, and the third is a Spanish national who holds senior positions at VTB.
At this time, according to information collected by passThe Portuguese bank has not been informed about EU sanctions affecting its Russian shareholder, nor the citizens who are part of its strategic board.
If this happens, says a banking source, the effects will be on the final dividend payout related to 2021 results — accounts that haven’t yet been closed or audited. There are also related party transactions, but in this case, the report and accounts, for example, do not specify whether there are deposits from this particular shareholder. Moreover, there will be problems if you intend to withdraw this position.
If there are sanctions applied to Russian citizens of that body, the same source conveys that the names that make up the Strategic Council may be left.
Finantipar, owned by António Guerreiro (the former CEO of the bank, who left management – shortly after an administrative irregularity by the Bank of Portugal – and is the head of the strategic board), is the largest shareholder in Finantia, a bank focused on financial advice and advice on operations, And not being a retail establishment.
In addition to Portugal, Banco Finantia is present through branches or offices in Spain, England, USA, Netherlands and Malta.
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