© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is seen at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 14, 2023. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

VIENNA (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International will pursue a possible sale or spin-off of its Russian business, Chief Executive Johann Strobl told shareholders at its annual general meeting on Thursday.

He said the bank would continue to reduce its business in Russia while it pursued these options and that it would keep some bank businesses in Russia to maintain its bank license there.

“RBI will pursue possible transactions that can lead to a sale or a spin-off of Raiffeisenbank Russia and its deconsolidation from the RBI group … in consultation with the relevant authorities,” Strobl said.

“We will further reduce our business activity in Russia as we pursue these possible transactions,” he said, adding: “Raiffeisenbank will maintain some bank businesses in Russia to fulfil the terms of its bank license.”

Earlier this month, people familiar with the matter told Reuters that the European Central Bank is pressing Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International to unwind its highly profitable business in Russia.

The pressure comes after a top U.S. sanctions official raised concerns about Raiffeisen’s business in Russia on a visit to Vienna last month, another person had said.

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