China’s biggest banks are finally getting scared by the West’s sanctions against Russia

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Three out of China’s Big Four state banks have halted payments from sanctioned Russian financial institutions, Russia’s Izvestia news outlet reported on Wednesday.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Bank of China have stopped the transactions since the start of 2024, Alexey Poroshin, the general director of investment and consulting firm First Group, told Izvestia.

While the three Chinese banks informed their Russian clients of the move in January, the issues started in December — after the European Union imposed its 12th sanctions package against Russia, Poroshin said. In December, the US also authorized secondary sanctions targeting financial institutions that help Russia skirt sanctions.
Chinese banks are tightening compliance checks with Russian businesses because they fear getting caught up in the West’s increasingly restrictive sanctions regime against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

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