(Updated on Friday August 19th to include link to letter to Citi CEO)
Citi are propping up Putin’s war. Here’s how:
Citi is a giant US bank, and its involvement with the Russian economy – and Putin – is the largest among all US banks. The bank has at least $8 billion in exposure to Russia – which in basic terms, means that it’s heavily involved in the Russian economy.
How does this link to the war? Well, it’s all about how Putin gets his money. Russia’s fossil fuel industry generates 40% of the country’s national revenue and 60% of its exports. A HUGE cut of that goes straight into Putin’s war chest. That’s the same war chest he is using to fill up Russian tanks, build Russian bombs and carry out his war crimes across Ukraine. So if you fund Russia’s fossil fuel companies, you directly fuel Putin’s war.
And that’s precisely what Citi and its executives is doing. It’s exactly why the Ukrainian government is calling for Citi to be prosecuted for war crimes alongside Putin himself:
Citi is funding Russian fossil fuel companies like Lukoil. Lukoil is the second largest producer of crude oil in Russia, and it’s the country’s second largest company after Gazprom. Lukoil may nominally be a private company, but it acts as an agent of Russian national leadership, engaging in “political targeting” of American voters. Citi also funds fossil fuel trading companies like Vitol. Vitol ships Russian oil around the world – it is “one of the main western enablers of Putin’s deadly trade in fossil fuels.” As the Ukrainian government points out, this means this means Citi’s support of Lukoil and Vitol directly prolongs Putin’s war in Ukraine.
It doesn’t stop there, Exxon is one of Citi’s largest fossil fuel clients. Citi lent $14 billion to Exxon since 2016. As Putin began his illegal war, Exxon lobbied the US government to allow continued business with Putin’s fossil fuel companies.
All of this is why two dozen Ukraininan organizations have demanded a meeting with the people responsible for Citi’s operations at its highest levels, for the bank’s activities in Europe, for its management of risk, and for its legal liabilities. Ukrainian organizations have a simple demand for Citi executives Jane Fraser, David Livingstone, Brent McIntosh, and Zdenek Turek:
Citi is helping the Putin regime. And they must stop, immediately.