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Ukraine needs massive banks to be prosecuted for ‘conflict crimes,’ Zelenskyy’s high financial aide says

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks throughout a joint press convention with President of Guatemala Alejandro Giammattei on July 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Alexey Furman | Getty Pictures

Main U.S. and European banks must be prosecuted for “committing conflict crimes” over their financing of commerce with the Russian regime, in keeping with a high aide to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Oleg Ustenko, financial advisor to Zelenskyy, mentioned the Ukrainian authorities believes banks, resembling JPMorgan, HSBC and Citi, are aiding the Kremlin’s conflict efforts in Ukraine by means of financing corporations that commerce oil with Russia. 

“All people who’s financing these conflict criminals, who’re doing these horrible issues in Ukraine, are additionally committing conflict crimes in our logic,” he instructed CNBC’s Hadley Gamble Tuesday on “Capital Connection.”

JPMorgan, HSBC and Citi didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for touch upon these allegations.

Requested immediately if he needs to see these banks prosecuted for conflict crimes, Ustenko mentioned: “Precisely.”

Ustenko mentioned Zelenskyy believes these banks must be held accountable for prolonging the battle and the conflict on Ukraine.

His feedback got here in response to a FT report final week, which mentioned that Ukraine’s authorities wrote to the chiefs of U.S. and European banks — resembling Jamie Dimon from JPMorgan and Noel Quinn from HSBC — urging them to chop ties with the teams which are buying and selling Russian oil.

We expect that the Ukrainian economic system goes to indicate a decline on the extent of round 35-40%, which is a large decline.

Oleg Ustenko

financial advisor to Ukraine’s president

In letters seen by the FT,  Ustenko wrote to the bankers asking them to chop off financing for companies that commerce Russian oil and promote shares to Gazprom and Rosneft, two of Russia’s state-backed oil and fuel corporations.

In response to the FT, the letters accused Citigroup and Credit score Agricole of “prolonging” the conflict by offering funds to corporations that ship Russian oil. The letters additionally reportedly warned the banks is not going to be allowed to participate within the reconstruction of Ukraine when the conflict is over.

CNBC didn’t instantly hear again from Credit score Agricole when requested about these allegations.

Ukraine’s authorities is gathering all of the proof to ship it to the Worldwide Prison Courtroom, Ustenko instructed CNBC.

“We’re accumulating all these info” by way of corporations which are financing Russia, he mentioned. “Our Ministry of Justice and our safety service of Ukraine are accumulating. After which later, that is going to be handed to the ICC,” he added.

This is not the primary time that Ukraine has gone after Western corporations for having enterprise dealings with Russia.

In March, the federal government was extremely vital of huge oil corporations for nonetheless doing enterprise with Russia, and warned that a few of these companies might discover themselves on the fallacious facet of historical past.

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Ustenko mentioned the conflict has taken a major toll on Ukraine’s economic system since Russia’s invasion started on Feb. 24.

“At the moment, we expect that the Ukrainian economic system goes to indicate a decline on the extent of round 35-40%, which is a large decline,” he mentioned.

He mentioned the decline was as a result of practically 50% of the companies “usually are not operational now or not in a position to function at full capability.”

“When the economic system is declining, then the price range revenues are decreased. Once more the rationale for that’s the Russian invasion,” he added.

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