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Russia: Freezing of Russian assets "political," says VTB CEO Andrei Kostin01:39

Russia: Freezing of Russian assets "political," says VTB CEO Andrei Kostin

Russian Federation, St. Petersburg
June 19, 2015 at 16:45 GMT +00:00 · Published

SOT, Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "I don't know. I am not an expert in this, I am only banker, in whose bank some of the accounts of some Russian organisations were frozen not only, by the way, in our bank and in the French banks as well. So, I know, what I know. I know that some organizations' accounts were frozen including the Russian Embassy at the beginning. But after the French ambassador was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow very quickly they were unfrozen."

SOT, journalist (English): "What precautionary measures are you making, if at all?"

SOT: Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "Well, I don't think you can do a lot. Because, I think, the organisations just need good lawyers and that is a completely legal case. I am personally not think that it is a very more political issue. I think it is politically motivated. But still the matter should be resolved in court."

SOT, journalist (English): "You mentioned politically motivated. You think Washington, for example, just put pressure on the French government?"

SOT, Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "I don't know. Again, I am a banker. I am not involved and I am not aware of the details of this case 'Yukos against Russia.' I don't know."

SOT, journalist (English): "What do western bankers saying to you, would they prefer politics to stay out of the business?"

SOT, Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "Absolutely, I mean not only bankers but business people who are present here or are not present here. They are thinking in the business categories. They want to do business. I haven't heard any banker or businessman who said that sanctions were the right thing. Thank you."

The CEO of Russian bank VTB Andrei Kostin called the freezing of Russian state assets in France, Belgium and Austria "political," while speaking on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Friday. Russian state assets, as well a several diplomatic accounts, were blocked on Thursday, but have been unfrozen since.

Kostin also spoke on the importance of drawing a line between politics and business, stating that he is "not involved" and "not aware of the details of this case 'Yukos against Russia.'"

Yukos Universal Limited, dismantled in 2007, was awarded €1.6 billion ($1,8 billion) in damages by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in July 2014, as part of a total settlement for approximately €44 billion ($50 billion), that the court ruled was owed to its former shareholders and management. Russian presidential aide Andrei Belousov called the process politicised during an interview, Thursday, adding that Russia will appeal the court's arrest of Russian property.

Russia: Freezing of Russian assets "political," says VTB CEO Andrei Kostin01:39
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SOT, Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "I don't know. I am not an expert in this, I am only banker, in whose bank some of the accounts of some Russian organisations were frozen not only, by the way, in our bank and in the French banks as well. So, I know, what I know. I know that some organizations' accounts were frozen including the Russian Embassy at the beginning. But after the French ambassador was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow very quickly they were unfrozen."

SOT, journalist (English): "What precautionary measures are you making, if at all?"

SOT: Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "Well, I don't think you can do a lot. Because, I think, the organisations just need good lawyers and that is a completely legal case. I am personally not think that it is a very more political issue. I think it is politically motivated. But still the matter should be resolved in court."

SOT, journalist (English): "You mentioned politically motivated. You think Washington, for example, just put pressure on the French government?"

SOT, Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "I don't know. Again, I am a banker. I am not involved and I am not aware of the details of this case 'Yukos against Russia.' I don't know."

SOT, journalist (English): "What do western bankers saying to you, would they prefer politics to stay out of the business?"

SOT, Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB bank (English): "Absolutely, I mean not only bankers but business people who are present here or are not present here. They are thinking in the business categories. They want to do business. I haven't heard any banker or businessman who said that sanctions were the right thing. Thank you."

The CEO of Russian bank VTB Andrei Kostin called the freezing of Russian state assets in France, Belgium and Austria "political," while speaking on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Friday. Russian state assets, as well a several diplomatic accounts, were blocked on Thursday, but have been unfrozen since.

Kostin also spoke on the importance of drawing a line between politics and business, stating that he is "not involved" and "not aware of the details of this case 'Yukos against Russia.'"

Yukos Universal Limited, dismantled in 2007, was awarded €1.6 billion ($1,8 billion) in damages by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in July 2014, as part of a total settlement for approximately €44 billion ($50 billion), that the court ruled was owed to its former shareholders and management. Russian presidential aide Andrei Belousov called the process politicised during an interview, Thursday, adding that Russia will appeal the court's arrest of Russian property.

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