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Offshore investments in Russia peak after sanctions

Offshore tax havens, the Bahamas and Bermuda have both provided a quarter of direct investment into the Russian economy in the past year.

Published: July 12, 2017, 11:13 am

    These countries are investing more than the UK, USA, France, Germany, Japan and China put together, with the amount of revenue from offshore jurisdictions doubling over the past two years.

    The stream of foreign investments in Russia has changed with the introduction of sanctions by the US and the EU. Until 2013, the largest flow of direct investment came from Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, the UK and France.

    With the introduction of sanctions in 2014, offshore interest peaked. Over the past three years, the inflow of funds from the Bahamas and Bermuda increased from 5.4 to 8.2 billion dollars, which amounts to a quarter of all direct foreign investment in Russia.

    This trend is easily explained says ktovkurse.com: “Western countries, in previous years have invested in Russia, and now for political reasons do so through ‘offshore companies’.

    Thus the benefits derived from doing business in Russia for some investors clearly outweigh the risks. But US oil companies are threatening to take the drive against sanctions public.

    The new Russia sanctions bill passed by the US Senate last month is facing a fresh hurdle. The bill on Russia’s energy and financial-services sectors was initially stalled last month when Republican lawmaker Pete Sessions, from Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, told CNN last weekend that the bill should not be moved to the floor for a vote because some of its provisions could cause “huge problems to companies in Dallas, Texas, that I represent”.

    Sessions has raised alarms that elements of the bill would harm energy companies in Texas. Exxon Mobil Corp. and other energy companies have joined President Donald Trump in expressing concerns over sanctions on Russia, arguing that it could shut down oil and gas projects around the world that involve Russian partners.

    The pushback from energy companies such as Exxon and Chevron threatens to complicate House passage of the legislation.

    Russia has however never been a lucrative source for US exports. The European Union relies far more on Russia than does the United States, whose goods exports to Russia totaled $11 billion in 2013, or less than 0.1 percent of US gross domestic product, the Business Insider reported.

    But the US tech industry lobbied the government earlier this year to soften its restrictions on doing business with Russia’s Federal Security Service because the agency “doubles as a regulator charged with approving the import to Russia of almost all technology that contains encryption,” Reuters reported. Alexis Rodzianko, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, told Reuters that the sanctions would have meant the Russian market was “dead for US electronics”.

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