22.09.22 / Banks / Campaign Updates

US banks under scrutiny in congress over continued business with Russian oil and gas

At public hearings in US Congress on 19 September congressman Brad Sherman directly questioned JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser about continued business of their banks with Russian fossil fuel companies and traders, including Gazprom, Lukoil and Vitol.

Both CEOs failed to give definitive answers on whether or not they cut business ties with Russia, trying to evade direct answers. However, from CEO statements it became clear that both banks continue to do business with Russian companies, who contribute to funding Putin's military aggression. Dimon even attempted to interject while congressman Sherman was speaking, sparking a brief, contentious exchange and silencing only after demand to respect protocol from chair of the hearings congresswoman Maxine Waters.

This comes just a month after Razom We Stand with international support sparked the public attention to banks continued business in Russia. Together with activists in New York, Paris and London on Ukraine’s Independence Day, 24 August, we took actions to demand that they immediately stop doing any kind of business with Russian fossil fuel companies, including investment, loans or other financial services.

In letters to management of these banks, Razom We Stand together with more than twenty Ukrainian civil society organizations reiterated the demand to end ties with the Russian oil and gas industry, which was first voiced by Oleg Ustenko - Volodymyr Zelenskyi's chief economic adviser. We and other Ukrainian organizations were asking top management of JP Morgan and Citi for meetings. That was ignored by banks, but they can’t ignore the US congress.

JPMorgan and Citi sit at the top of the list of private banks, who provided billions of dollars of loans for Russian oil and gas companies in the run up to Russia's full scale military invasion. After six months of war crimes and the slaughter of civilians, those banks have continued providing financial services to them, and, by proxy, Vladimir Putin and his military. By maintaining ties to Russian oil and gas, these banks continue the war and genocide in Ukraine, as export of oil and gas provides more than 40% of the income of the federal budget of Russia.

Research done by our partners Leave it in the ground initiative (LINGO) exposed that JP Morgan and Citi were among the leading investors in the big new Russian oil and gas projects – 40 "carbon bombs" with potential of releasing over 1 Gigaton of carbon emissions each. 

JP Morgan also is one of key US banks, who are threatening to leave the Global Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) over strengthened core criteria of being climate neutral investors. That’s because JP Morgan is not willing to limit their fossil fuel financing and not even consider withdrawing participation from Russian carbon bombs projects. 

Sanctions and embargo against Russian fossil fuels are what is needed not only for Ukraine to win over Putin and his murderous petrostate, but also for the whole world to save itself from the climate emergency. Therefore, we should work with double strength - build further pressure on international banks and corporations to cut all ties with Russia. Check at Putin100 website to find out who are still involved in business with Russia.

We are adamant, that together with the priority of boycotting Russian oil and gas, any investments in fossil fuel production must be halted globally, banks and other financial institutions must hold commitments for real decarbonization.

With your support will continue or work to hold banks accountable and force governments to react. Stay tuned - sign up for our campaign updates.

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