Andrei Kostin, VTB President and Chairman of the Management Board, believes that the United States will not seek to disconnect Russia from SWIFT. In his opinion, they have other instruments of influence.
“I don’t believe in turning off SWIFT: we don’t need SWIFT to hit our sector. Moreover, this is a European company, that is, this issue will require the participation of European governments, ”said Mr. Kostin to RBC.
The head of VTB believes that the Europeans are frightened by the introduction of “secondary sanctions” by the United States, which may be introduced in transactions, for example, with a bank against which restrictions have been imposed. “They have their own instrument. Previously, they cut off our banks and Iranian banks from dollar settlements with the introduction of secondary sanctions against European banks. They say that if you (European bank – “B”) if you work, for example, with this sanctioned bank, then you will also be disconnected from the American system. They almost did it with French banks when there were claims of violation of sanctions against Russia, ”explained Mr. Kostin.
In April, the European Parliament proposed to disconnect Russia from SWIFT, but the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that Brussels does not have such competencies. The Bank of Russia believes that now there are no risks of disconnecting the country from the SWIFT international payment system. According to the Central Bank, even in the event of a shutdown, Russia will be able to switch to an analogue – the System for the Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).
A general meeting of SWIFT will be held in June, following which a new composition of the board of directors will be selected. According to Kommersant’s information, the representative of Russia has a high chance of retaining his seat.
For more details on Russia’s chances to remain on the council, see the Kommersant article “Russia has become entrenched in SWIFT”.