The Royal Bank of Scotland, which issued more than $800 million in Belarusian state bonds earlier this year, abandoned its Belarusian operations after it was shamed by local dissidents over its role in organizing the issue, the Independent quoted on Monday RBS as saying.
Belarusian activists from Free Belarus Now met RBS officials last week in Edinburgh alongside Index on Censorship, which has campaigned against Britain doing business in Belarus as long as President Alexander Lukashenko is in power. After the meeting, RBS, which is 84 percent owned by the government, issued a statement saying it would not deal with Belarus.
"Given sanctions, the deteriorating political situation in Belarus and the fact that it has reneged on key elements of the International Monetary Fund program, RBS has ceased any type of capital raising for or on behalf of the Belarus republic," the lender said in a statement. "In assessing where we do business, we have a responsibility to consider a number of factors, including social and ethical issues and compliance with the letter and spirit of all international sanctions."
The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions against Lukashenko and his allies considering his regime as repressive, but there have been no prohibitions on doing business with the Belarusian government. RBS is the only British bank, which has recently done financial deals directly with the Belarusian government.