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July 06
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 Since the imposition of sanctions, 9.2 billion tenge ($21.6 million at the current exchange rate) has been blocked on the accounts of subsidiaries of Russian banks in Kazakhstan, Madina Abylkassymova, chairman of the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market of the Republic, said.

Foreign banks have blocked payments in foreign currency in respect of certain clients of the Kazakh Sberbank in the amount of 2.9 billion tenge. For Eco Center Bank clients, payments and transfers in foreign currency for individual clients in the amount of 3.9 billion tenge are blocked.

Currently, the new shareholder of the bank (Eco Center Bank), represented by Bank CenterCredit JSC, is working to remove the bank from the sanctions list of the United States and a number of other countries. There are no facts of blocking or freezing of funds within the framework of their payment and transfer operations for the clients of Subsidiary VTB Bank (Kazakhstan) JSC, the response says.

On the issue of the amount of funds that the clients of subsidiary banks managed to return to economic circulation, as of May 1, 2022, Kazakhstani Sberbank and Eco Center Bank do not have information on the amounts of customer funds returned by foreign banks, since the correspondent accounts through which transactions were carried out are blocked.

Possible return of frozen funds is carried out by customers through other banks.

In turn, CenterCredit Bank sent a letter to OFAC (the structure of the US Treasury responsible for enforcement of sanctions) to obtain a general license to remove Eco Center Bank from the sanctions list due to a change in shareholder. After the sanctions are lifted, its correspondent accounts and customer funds are expected to be completely unblocked.

As reported, the Kazakh subsidiaries of VTB, Alfa-Bank and Sberbank came under US blocking sanctions in March. In May, the subsidiary of Alfa-Bank was acquired by the Kazakhstani CenterCredit bank. The search for investors for the subsidiaries of Sberbank and VTB is underway.

According to the National Bank of Kazakhstan, as of April 1, 2022, the subsidiaries of Sberbank, Alfa-Bank and VTB ranked 4th, 11th and 13th respectively in terms of assets among 22 banks in the country. The official exchange rate as of May 23 is 425.02 tenge/$1.

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