Putin banker describes minimal effect of Russia sanctions

Russia can’t influence the US election process: Andrey Kostin

VTB Bank Chairman Andrey Kostin discusses how President Trump now accepts US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia interfered during the 2016 presidential election. Kostin also weighed in on the Trump administration’s sanctions against Russian businesses.

As Congress considers moving forward with new sanctions against Russia in the wake of President Trump’s controversial meeting with Vladimir Putin, the head of Moscow’s state-controlled bank VTB described a minimal effect of a prior round of sanctions imposed in 2014.

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“I don’t have any property in America. I don’t have any accounts with American banks,” VTB Chairman and CEO Andrey Kostin said during an interview with FOX Business’ Liz Claman on Wednesday. “But of course, I am not happy. Because it’s unfair, and I would like of course sanctions to be removed.”

Currently, almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions, including restricted travel capabilities; frozen assets; and a lack of access to financing via American banks and markets. President Barack Obama announced the sanctions in response to Moscow’s support of a separatist movement in Ukraine and its eventual annexation of Crimea.

On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., reportedly floated the option of slapping additional sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential elections — just one day after the president came under fire across the political aisle for siding with Putin and deriding reports by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia had meddled in his favor.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign, and has indicted dozens of Russians for interfering in the election. Kostin, and VBT, are also fighting rumors of funding a potential Trump Towers in Moscow. Kostin has denied those allegations.

Still, despite the more-than-positive reception of the summit in Russia, Kostin said the Trump administration has not necessarily been good for business, calling the sanctions as “very wrong” and a “bad decision.” He does not anticipate the White House will lift sanctions anytime soon, until Russia and the U.S. settle disagreements on Syria, nuclear proliferation and the annexation of Crimea.

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“I have no reason to be happy with a Mr. Trump administration,” he said. “Because they put [Russia] on the list for no reason.”

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