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MOSCOW, March 22 (Reuters) - The Russian government has agreed with Sberbank and VTB to transfer their loans to the defence industry to Promsvyazbank (PSB), Interfax reported on Thursday.
The transfer of the defence loans to PSB, which Russia’s central bank had to bail out last year, is to protect state-owned Sberbank and VTB against the potential risks of expansion of Western sanctions against Russia.
Sberbank Chief Executive German Gref said earlier this week that Sberbank would hand over part of its loan portfolio to Russia’s defence sector lender PSB.
Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency on Thursday that VTB and Sberbank have both agreed with the government to transfer their defence industry loans to PSB.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said earlier that Russia’s PSB was to receive up to 1 trillion roubles($17.6 billion) in defence sector loans which will be transferred mainly from the two state banks.
$1 = 56.9240 roubles Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; editing by Jane Merriman