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US removes former European subsidiary of Russia's VTB bank from sanctions list

US removes former European subsidiary of Russia's VTB bank from sanctions list Illustrative photo (Getty Images)

The United States has lifted sanctions on a former European subsidiary of Russia's largest bank VTB, according to the US Department of the Treasury.

Ost-West Handelsbank, as well as its former names - VTB Bank Europe and VTB Bank Deutschland - have been removed from the sanctions list.

According to Radio Liberty, in April 2022, the German authorities took control of Bank Europe. Due to the European Union's sanctions, they prohibited VTB from exercising shareholder rights.

Sanctions against the owner of VTB Bank

In 2017, VTB reorganized its European sub-holding, transferring its subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, and France to a single license of VTB Bank Europe. While this bank belonged to VTB, after sanctions were imposed on the Russian bank in 2022, the German regulator removed VTB from the management of its subsidiary and deprived it of the ability to dispose of the financial assets of VTB Bank Europe, stating that the European bank was not subject to EU restrictions.

In February of this year, the United States accused the chairman of VTB Bank, Andrey Kostin, and two of his associates of violating sanctions.

Kostin is accused of money laundering and sanctions violations related to the ownership of two yachts and a house in the resort town of Aspen, US.

According to the US, Kostin was involved in a scheme to evade sanctions and launder money to support two superyachts worth more than $135 million.