Finnish bank let Rothenberg withdraw money just before EU sanctions

The Finnish bank Suupohjan Osuuspankki allowed Russian oligarch Boris Rotenberg to withdraw his funds just a few days before the European Union slapped sanctions on him last April, Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reports.

In 2020, Suupohjan Osuuspankki’s board voted to terminate banking services for Rinimex Oy, Mr Rotenberg’s company, due to him being subject to US sanctions.

The decision, however, was postponed several times.

Last spring, the bank's internal compliance department recommended Mr Rotenberg be denied transferring his funds. In early April, he did access the money and took it, allegedly promising not to transfer it to Russia or Belarus.

Four days later, the European Union placed the Russian oligarch on its sanctions list, which would prohibit him from using the funds in the Finnish bank.

The amount of assets withdrawn from Mr Rotenberg's account was not disclosed.

The bank declined to comment on the situation, claiming it acted within the law and the rules of financial activity.

Boris Rotenberg is a co-owner and member of the board of directors of SMP Bank, vice president of the Russian judo federation, and founder and head of the SMP Racing programme for the development of Russian motorsport.

He is personally acquainted with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

In September 2022, the assets of Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, his brother who is also close to Russia’s president, were arrested in Finland.