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Goldman Sachs becomes first big US bank to leave Russia

NEW YORK (AFP) – United States (US) investment bank Goldman Sachs on Thursday announced it would pull out of Russia, becoming the first Wall Street institution to distance itself from Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine.

“Goldman Sachs is winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

“We are focussed on supporting our clients across the globe in managing or closing out pre-existing obligations in the market and ensuring the wellbeing of our people.

“According to its latest annual report, the firm’s exposure to Russia stood at USD650 million at the end of 2021, with the vast majority tied to claims by private actors and borrowers. Goldman Sachs did not give details about the number of employees working in the country.”

Citigroup, another major US bank that had a total exposure to Russia of USD9.8 billion as of the end of December, said they were “assessing their options” in the country. Last year, Citigroup announced it would seek to sell its retail banking operations in Russia. “As we work toward that exit, we are operating that business on a more limited basis given current circumstances and obligations,” said the bank’s Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs Edward Skyler.

“We are also supporting our corporate clients in Russia, including many American and European multi-national corporations who we are helping as they suspend or unwind their business.”

JPMorgan Chase said in a statement it had “been actively unwinding Russian business and have not been pursuing any new business in Russia”, noting the big US bank had committed up to USD5 million to support humanitarian relief efforts.

Consumer products firm Kimberly-Clark said it had “implemented significant adjustments to our business” in Russia, particularly by “suspending all media, advertising and promotional activity” as well as by stopping investments at a factory in the country.

People stand in line at an ATM in Moscow, Russia. PHOTO: AP

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