Raiffeisen Bank under investigation in Czechia over Russia business

The Czech national antiterrorism centre has launched an investigation into Raiffeisen Bank International on suspicion of financing Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, local television reports.

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By continuing to do business in Russia, the Austrian bank is financing the invasion of Ukraine, the Czech association for the rights of citizens and entrepreneurs, which filed a complaint against the bank, said.

The Austrian banking group Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is the largest European bank that still operates in Russia. Its profits go to the Russian state budget in the form of taxes, the association explains.

"How is it possible that we suddenly discover in the accounting reports that they spend hundreds of millions on terrorism, on supporting the military machine?" Libor Malecek, a member, was quoted as saying.

Czech police spokesman Ondrej Moravčík confirmed to local television that the anti-terrorism centre was investigating Raiffeisen Bank, but refused to provide additional information.

In addition, a group of Raiffeisen Bank customers in the Czech Republic launched a petition calling on the bank to leave Russia.

"The idea of paying with the same card as, for example, a supplier of military equipment for the Russian army is unbearable for us," said Ladislav Pelzl, a co-author of the petition.

The bank, in turn, assures that it is limiting its activities in Russia. On 29 August, RBI CEO Johan Strobl confirmed that he was ready to sell the Russian subsidiary or spin it off into a separate business — he could not give any specific time frame.

Raiffeisen Bank International has been included by Ukraine in the list of international war sponsors because its Russian bank continues to operate more than a year into the full-scale war.