Goldman Sachs is the first major US bank to exit Russia
Goldman Sachs is leaving Russia, becoming the first major US bank to exit the country after Western governments imposed sanctions intended to cripple the Russian economy.
“Goldman Sachs is closing its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements,” bank spokesman Andrea Williams said in an email. “We are focused on supporting our customers around the world in managing or closing obligations that are already in the market and ensuring the well-being of our people.”
The investment banking giant has about 80 employees in Russia and is arranging for the departure of those who have asked to leave, Ms Williams said, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. Some employees in Goldman’s legal and compliance divisions will remain in the country.
According to a filing, at the end of 2021, New York Bank had more than $700 million in exposure to Russia, linked to loans and financial products such as stocks and bonds. Although Goldman has a presence in Russia, there is a small part of the bank’s global operations.
“None of us can fail to see what it is: an invasion of a sovereign state,” Goldman chief executive David M. Solomon said in a memo to employees Thursday. “Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes, Ukrainian cities have suffered massive destruction, and there has already been a tragic loss of life. I know it is for many of us. It is an extremely difficult and difficult time.”
American and Western banks have withdrawn from direct transactions in Russia since 2014, when the United States imposed penalties following President Vladimir V. Putin’s annexation of Crimea.
Citigroup, which has about 3,000 employees in Russia, said on Wednesday it would “assess our operations in the country.” Citi’s consumer division in Russia is running limited operations, and the bank put the business up for sale as part of a wider exit from overseas markets announced last year.
Still, the latest economic penalty on Russia could have far-reaching indirect consequences because of the size of its economy and its international relations. The country is a major exporter of raw materials such as oil, natural gas and wheat.
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