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Leading Italian bank announces Russian office closure

Leading Italian bank announces Russia office closure
Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s largest bank, decided to close its representative office in Moscow despite the lack of a presidential green light. It’s the latest move to curtail its Russian operations, and it carries symbolic value, as the manager is prized and respected in Moscow

Intesa Sanpaolo shut its representative office in Moscow. A spokesperson for Italy’s largest bank announced the decision on Wednesday, confirming that it would happen despite the lack of a presidential green light on disposing assets – which Russia introduced in the summer of 2022, months after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

  • The spokesperson confirmed the closure would not affect its local business, which Intesa worked to shrink down to roughly €100 million in loans to Russian clients and €700 million in cross-border loans, down 66% and 77%, respectively, from last year, according to Reuters.

Ongoing decoupling… Most Italian companies with operations in Russia have drastically reduced their presence or left the country altogether, leaving only a handful as of August 2023. Italy’s second-biggest bank, UniCredit, is also striving to limit its reach despite Moscow’s laws on selling off assets (although Yale’s CELI list marks it as “digging in”).

… and symbolic cut-offs. Intesa’s decision to shut off its representative office also carries a degree of symbolic value, as the number one representative and head of the bank’s Russian division is Antonio Fallico. The 78-year-old manager is perhaps the most accredited Italian banker in Moscow, arriving in the Seventies and nurturing ties within all regimes since Leonid Brezhnev’s.

  • He has been Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Verona, his adoptive city, since 2008.
  • The Conoscere Eurasia Association, which Mr Fallico heads, was among the organisers of the pro-Russian Verona Eurasian Economic Forum, which last year was moved away from its namesake city and to Baku, Azerbaijan, to allow for the participation of sanctioned Russian oligarchs.


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