Ukraine wants JPMorgan, Citi, HSBC to be prosecuted for war crimes: Assistant Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on July 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Alexey Furman | beautiful pictures

Major US and European banks will be prosecuted for “committing war crimes” over their trade financing with the Russian regime, according to a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Oleg Ustenko, Zelenskyy’s economic adviser, said the Ukrainian government believes that banks, such as JP Morgan, HSBC Bank and Citiis supporting the Kremlin’s war efforts in Ukraine through funding companies that trade oil with Russia.

He told CNBC Hadley Gamble on Tuesday on “Capital Connection”: “Everyone who is funding these war criminals, who are doing these terrible things in Ukraine, is also committing war crimes. “.

Asked directly if he would like to see these banks prosecuted for war crimes, Ustenko said: “Exactly.”

Ustenko said Zelenskyy believes these banks are responsible for prolonging the conflict and the war in Ukraine.

His comment came in response to a FT report last weekwhich states that the Ukrainian government has written letters to the directors of US and European banks – such as Jamie Dimon from JPMorgan and Noel Quinn from HSBC – urging them to cut ties with groups that are trading in Russian oil.

We expect that the Ukrainian economy will show a decline of about 35-40%, which is a very large decline.

Oleg Ustenko

Economic advisor to the President of Ukraine

In letters seen by the FT, Ustenko wrote to bankers asking them to cut off financing to Russian oil businesses and sell shares to Gazprom and Rosneft, two of the oil companies. Russia’s state-backed gas.

According to the FT, the letters accuse Citigroup and Credit Agricole of “prolonging” the war by providing financing to Russian oil shipping companies. The letters are also said to have warned banks that they would not be allowed to participate in the reconstruction of Ukraine once the war was over.

The Ukrainian government is collecting all the evidence to submit to the International Criminal Court, Mr. Ustenko told CNBC.

“We are collecting all this information” about companies that are providing finance to Russia, he said. “Our Justice Department and our Ukrainian security service are collecting. And then this will be passed on to the ICC,” he added.

This is not the first time Ukraine has pursued Western companies for its business dealings with Russia.

In March, the government was very critical major oil companies for still doing business with Russia, and warned that some of them could find themselves going against history.

Read more about energy from CNBC Pro

Ustenko said the war has taken a significant toll on Ukraine’s economy since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

“We are now expecting that the Ukrainian economy will show a contraction of about 35-40%, which is a very large decline,” he said.

He said the drop was due to nearly 50% of businesses “currently not operating or not being able to operate at full capacity.”

He added: “As the economy shrinks, so does budget revenue.

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