According to reporting from Kommersant, the R3 blockchain consortium has informed Russian banking giant Sberbank that any application to join the group would be denied, as the bank remains subject to international sanctions. The bank had not yet formally presented its application for membership, and has now reportedly decided against applying for entry in the group at this time.
The United States and other nations imposed sanctions on Russian banks, companies, and individuals with close ties to the regime of President Vladimir Putin in February 2014, in response to Russia’s intervention in eastern Ukraine. Russia then annexed Crimea in March 2014, which led to additional sanctions targeting the country’s President and those close to him.
The preemptive rejection of Sberbank means that the bank now joins four other Russian banks which have also been denied entry into the consortium. Those banks include the National Settlement Depository, Alfa-Bank, Otkritie Bank, and Ak Bars. To date, Qiwi remains the only Russian company to gain admittance into R3.
The decision has caused consternation in some quarters, since Sberbank was allowed to join the HyperLedger project late last year, despite the ongoing sanctions. Nevertheless, the bank’s First Deputy Chairman, Lev Khasis, seemed unfazed by R3’s stance:
“This is not only about the sanctions. The general attitude about Russia in the world is very complex now.
There is no point to want to join them if they don’t want us. When they want us, we’ll see if we want them.”