The National Center for Combating Terrorism, Extremism and Cybercrime of the Czech Republic launched an investigation against the Austrian financial group Raiffeisen Bank International because of the work of its subsidiary in Russia. This is reported by the Czech TV.
A complaint against Raiffeisen Bank International was filed with law enforcement by human rights activists from the Czech Association for the Rights of Citizens and Entrepreneurs. They believe that by continuing financial activities in the Russian Federation, the group is actually sponsoring Russian aggression in Ukraine.
In addition to appealing to the Czech authorities, human rights activists sent statements with a request to investigate the activities of the Russian “daughter” of Raiffeisen Bank in the EU and Austria.
The National Center for Combating Terrorism, Extremism and Cybercrime confirmed to Czech Television that they had accepted the statement of human rights activists. According to the representative of the center Ondrej Moravcik, the investigation is already underway. He refused to give details.
Meanwhile, a group of clients of the Czech Raiffeisenbank created a petition demanding that the financial institution leave the Russian market.
The initiator of this appeal, Ladislav Pelzl, explained that Raiffeisenbank makes big profits in Russia and pays income tax from it, which is used by the authorities to finance aggression against Ukraine. “The idea of paying with the same payment card as, figuratively speaking, a supplier of military equipment for the Russian army, for example, is unbearable for us,” he stressed.
Why, despite the pressure and reputational risk, the Austrian bank is delaying its exit from Russia, the economist explains:
After the start of a full-scale invasion of the Russian army in Ukraine, Raiffeisen Bank International announced that it intended to leave the Russian market. At the same time, two options were considered: the sale of Russian assets or their separation from the main group. Later it became known that the Austrian financial group planned the separation of assets being considered for the end of 2023. In 2022, Raiffeisen Bank made a profit of about 3.8 billion euros, with about 2 billion euros received by the group from Russia. Russian depositors placed more than 20 billion euros in the bank during the year.