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John Kerry Threatens US Banks Over Russia Bond Sale
02-26-2016, 10:20 AM
Post: #1
John Kerry Threatens US Banks Over Russia Bond Sale
Russia wants to sell some bonds and President Obama isn’t happy about it. Moscow is looking to issue “at least” $3 billion of foreign bonds in what amounts to the country’s first international issuance since the West imposed sanctions on The Kremlin in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s alleged role in “destabilizing” Ukraine (because it was very “stable” before).

Since the sanctions were imposed, relations between Moscow and Washington have only gotten more contentious and when Russia began flying combat missions from Latakia on September 30, it was trotted out as evidence that Vladimir Putin is indeed determined to reassert Russian influence by sheer force.

Meanwhile, the Russian economy is in trouble. Granted, Russia isn’t Brazil and Moscow isn’t running a double-digit budget deficit like Riyadh, but times are most assuredly tough. The ruble has plunged through 75 and will probably see the mid-80s if oil spends too much time in the 20s, inflation is running high, and collapsing crude threatens to weaken Moscow’s fiscal position.

All of that is just fine with Washington and its European allies who attribute a large part of the malaise to sanctions even though slumping crude probably plays a larger role.

It’s against this backdrop that Russia is set to sell $3 billion in debt and officials in the State Department and the Treasury are out warning US banks not to underwrite the deal.

“The U.S. government has warned some top U.S. banks not to bid on a potentially lucrative but politically risky Russian bond deal, saying it would undermine international sanctions on Moscow,” WSJ reports, adding that “the rules don’t explicitly prohibit banks from pursuing the business, but U.S. State Department officials hold the view that helping finance Russia would run counter to American foreign policy.”

Russia has invited BofA, Citi, Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley to bid on the business, but Washington’s threats have left the Street in a rather tenuous position. In response to banks’ inquiries as to whether they are allowed to participate, John Kerry’s State Department said this: “It is essential that private companies—in the U.S., EU and around the world—understand that Russia will remain a high-risk market so long as its actions to destabilize Ukraine continue. [There will be] reputational risks of returning to business as usual with Russia.”


2012 - PUBLIC NOTICE - A $700,000,000,000.00, (Seven Hundred Billion U S Dollars) Offset Bond Has been delivered / issued to the UNITED STATES TREASURY DEPARTMENT. Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury has taken possession of it for the benefit of I, Phillip Vernon Crowell

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