Swiss branch of Sberbank allowed to pay creditors

Sberbank Switzerland was placed under protective supervision shortly after war in Ukraine broke out. © Keystone / Michael Buholzer

The Swiss financial regulator has partially lifted restrictions on the Swiss branch of Russia’s Sberbank so it can pay off non-sanctioned creditors.

This content was published on July 1, 2022 - 11:33

The Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) introduced protective measures for Sberbank SwitzerlandExternal link on March 4, the week after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The action temporarily released the bank from obligations to depositors and creditors as it reduced its activities and refrained from taking on any new business. The bank was forbidden from conducting payments and transactions.

Finma also appointed an investigating agent to oversee restructuring at the bank and later extended protective measures until August 1.

On Friday, Finma said it would partially lift the measures so that the bank can settle bills with selective creditors for the next few days. The Swiss branch is not allowed to make payments to its parent company in Russia.

“This step is possible because the bank has successfully stabilised its financial situation under Finma supervision and the international sanctions currently in force permit such payments,” Finma stated.

The move will allow Sberbank Switzerland to clear some of its debts “also with a view to a possible sale or change of ownership”, the regulator added.

Sberbank Switzerland is part of the Russian Sberbank group but is a separate entity from Sberbank Europe, which has been hit with EU sanctions.

The Swiss entity will remain under “intensive” supervision by the financial regulator.

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