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Forcing Russia out of Swift is dangerous, warns Germany’s biggest bank

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Germany’s largest lender has warned that excluding Russia from the Swift international payments system would pose an economic  “danger” as calls for tougher sanctions against Vladimir Putin intensify.

Deutsche Bank published a research report on Friday arguing that “banning Russia from Swift will complicate trade and amplify jitters” and could “precipitate the expansion of rival messaging networks and payment methods that circumvent sanctions”. 

“In the long run a danger may lurk – countries displeased with Western allies flexing their financial hegemony may club together to set up a rival system with infrastructure they can control,” said the report’s author, Marion Laboure.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank said: “We support the decisions of the German government and its allies and will promptly and fully implement the sanctions and other measures imposed. Within this framework, we continue to support our clients globally, including with respect to their Russia and Russia-related activities. 

“Most of our clients with Russian operations or requirements are European or multinational corporates who are currently adapting their business activities in the country.”

The bank had earlier tweeted a link to the independent research report, writing that “banning Russia from Swift will complicate trade & amplify jitters”, before later deleting it. 

The report comes days after Germany was accused of resisting efforts to lock Russia’s largest bank out of the system.  

This week Berlin has been pushing back on plans to include state-backed lender Sberbank on a list of financial institutions ejected from the banking system, officials told Bloomberg this week.

Kyiv last month said its Western allies would have the blood of innocent Ukrainians on their hands if Europe failed to restrict Russia’s access to Swift. The world’s main payment clearing system underpins most international transactions and is crucial for global trade.  

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