Reuters exclusively revealed that the United States’ sanctions authority has launched an inquiry into Raiffeisen Bank International over its Russian business, increasing scrutiny of the Austrian lender that plays a critical role in the Russian economy. The request, part of Washington’s renewed push to financially isolate Moscow, is worrying European financial regulators that oversee Raiffeisen because it could ultimately lead to penalties against the lender. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has asked Raiffeisen for details of its exposure in Russia, the partially occupied Donbas, Ukraine and Syria, including specifics around transactions and activity of certain clients, sources told Reuters. The exclusive Reuters report was confirmed by Raiffeisen and appeared widely in Austrian and international media.
Shares in RBI fell as much as 8.6% in early trading on Monday after Reuters’ story, putting them on course for the biggest daily drop since the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago. Analysts at brokerage Exane-BNP Baribas downgraded their recommendation on the stock, saying the inquiry lowered the chances of RBI recouping its investments “trapped in Russia and Belarus.”