Updated at 20:54,07-12-2016

Foreign Banks Halt Dealing with Belarus

Two more foreign banks, part of a syndicate, by which the government of Belarus carried out the international loans, halt cooperation with the Belarusian authorities.

Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas French have agreed on such a step over the pressure on international human rights organizations.

Banks’ decision was preceded by the August meeting in Warsaw of the human rights activists from Free Belarus Now and Index on Censorship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who promised to address the management of banks to halt deals with the Belarusian authorities. Deutsche Bank has obviously followed the call of the German Chancellor, writes British newspaper The Independent.

October 25, BNP Paribas confirmed that it, too, had pulled out any future deals with the official Minsk.

"After December 19 (the presidential elections) we stopped all our activities in Belarus, except trade related financing. Our only action was to close the transactions which we had committed to before 19th December. The bond issuance took place one week after this date for that reason. To date, we are not working on and do not plan any new transactions with the state of Belarus," said a spokeswoman for BNP Paribas.

Mike Harris, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship, which has led the campaign to shame investors in Belarus, said: "Deutsche Bank, RBS and BNP Paribas were propping up a dictatorship. We're delighted they have pulled out, leaving Lukashenko with few options other than to release his political prisoners.
Thus, of the original four banks, only Sberbank has yet to say it will not do business with Lukashenko. We will keep campaigning until it does,"
Mike Harris said.

In late August, British Royal Bank of Scotland halted deals with the government of Belarus under pressure of international human rights organizations. Along with Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Sberbank of Russia, it was an arranger of debut Eurobond placed by Belarus in summer 2010. Then Belarus placed Eurobonds for $600 million for five years with a coupon rate of 8.75% per annum. Eurobonds are to be repaid in 2015.