Gazprombank is the third largest financial institution in Russia
In addition, Brussels will include in this package, which will already be the sixth, the Sberbank, which alone is responsible for 37% of the Russian banking sector. Not to Gazprombank, which seems untouchable for Europeans even though it has already been sanctioned by the United States and the United Kingdom. The entity that directs Andrey Akimov, a financial subsidiary of the Gazprom group, It is the one that is used as an intermediary for gas purchases, so removing it from Swift or prohibiting relations with it to European banks would mean iprevent payments for Russian gas and that Putin ordered the taps to be closed.
Gazprombank is not a dwarf dedicated only to the business of its parent. It is the third Russian bank and is the most important in terms of financing public projects. A bank carefully cared for by the Kremlin, which is not listed on the Stock Exchange, which makes no noise, which hardly advertises itself with sports sponsors like its parent company and other Russian financial entities do and which has in Akimov an atypical pattern for large Russian companies: little media coverage and no political past. Gazprombank performs the functions in part of a public investment bank. It is dedicated to financing strategic sectors for Russia such as mining or energy, it finances hydrocarbon prospecting and nuclear research. He was involved in the financing of the last great gas pipelines, like the Yamal to bring Siberian gas to Europe.
Putin has Gazprombank as the apple of his eye. The bank finances any project launched by the Kremlin and the ties are not just financial. For his legal service, Kiril Shamalov, the husband of Katerina Tikhonova, Putin’s daughter, spent a few years. Kiril’s father, Nikolai Shamalov, was a co-founder, along with Putin and other top officials in 1990s St. Petersburg, of a real estate cooperative.
Kiril’s brother and Nikolai’s eldest son, Yuri Shamalov, was appointed Gazfond chairman in 2003, Gazprom’s pension fund. Since 2007 Gazfond has controlled Gazprombank. This is what the opponent (now imprisoned) Alexei Navalny always denounced, that Putin’s friends were acquiring at ridiculous prices and financed by supposedly private banks but in reality controlled by the Kremlin or men from the president’s entourage much more expensive assets.
Putin takes care of Gazprombank
At the end of March, it required European oil importers to open an account in dollars and another in rubles at Gazprombank. They would no longer be able to pay the bank to Gazprom outside of Russia. Now they would have to pay in dollars at Gazprombank and the entity would convert the payment to rubles. It would serve Putin to sustain the value of the ruble.
The European Commission has already announced that whoever lends itself to this network would be violating the sanctions approved against Russia. The European Union will hardly sanction Gazprombank as long as it continues to import Russian gas.