Three of China’s Big Four state banks have stopped accepting payments from sanctioned Russian financial institutions
(Photo: Xinhua)

Three of China’s four major state-owned banks have halted payments from sanctioned Russian financial institutions, Russian news agency Izvestia reported on Wednesday.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China have halted transactions since the beginning of 2024, Alexey Poroshin, the general director of investment and consulting firm First Group, told Izvestia.

This news is also confirmed by the statement of the Chinese ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhun, in an interview.

While the three Chinese banks informed their Russian clients of the move in January, the problems started in December – after the European Union imposed its 12th package of sanctions on Russia, Poroshin said. In December, the US also approvedsecondary sanctions targeting financial institutions that help Russia evade sanctions.

Chinese banks are stepping up compliance checks on Russian companies for fear of being caught up in the West’s increasingly restrictive sanctions regime against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Poroshin told Izvestia that Chinese banks are now unwilling to do business with sanctioned companies because the trade balance between the US and China is far greater than that between China and Russia.