back to article EU cuts off key Russian banks from SWIFT system

As of this morning, the EU confirmed it had "agreed to exclude key Russian banks from the SWIFT system, the world's dominant financial messaging system. "This measure will stop these banks from conducting their financial transactions worldwide in a fast and efficient manner. Today's decision has been closely coordinated with …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    And are we surprised?

    I suppose they might get upset when they find they can't send anyone to Russia to do a license audit.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Coat

      Never mind that. The next instalment of their licencing/support contract fees isn't going to be paid because there is no way to transfer the money to them.

      1. Dave@Home

        I wonder if the license fees are specified in local currency?

        Could turn out to be ridiculously cheap for them in a nother week or two

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          as the meme goes, "in Russia, 50 Cent is called 4 million Rubles"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            That was yesterday. Today he's called 10 million rubles.

            1. spireite Silver badge
              Coat

              And can't afford to buy anything from a Candy Shop

        2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

          It depends on the contract. Usually there's a clause about the US Dollar exchange rate.

          1. teknopaul Silver badge

            $113bn (€101m) exchange rate from € to $ looking a bit off already ;)

            Tips and corrections page is down

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      My experience of "enterprise" software suggests that the most effective tactic might be to offer it free to anyone willing to install it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "General Motors has also suspended some business in the country."

    And this is a bad thing?

    Could be considered a blessing in disguise! :D

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: "General Motors has also suspended some business in the country."

      Their injection system that they stuck on to the Lada Niva has absolutely ruined the car.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "General Motors has also suspended some business in the country."

      And this is a bad thing?

      And in other news, Boeing has said that it will halt all aircraft sales in Russia - Russians everywhere are celebrating wildly, and the EU, UK and US have all condemned the move. A government spokesman said "Look, come on guys, we don't think making Russia a safer place is really going to help the Ukrainians..."

      1. spireite Silver badge

        Re: "General Motors has also suspended some business in the country."

        To be honest, the 737 Max would make a great missile. Doesn't need a pilot either!

  3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    For my own part...

    For my own part I've sent my mail-order bride back to her bearded mother in Magadan with the receipt.

    On the upside it's a lot fucking quieter in the house, there is less mayonnaise in the fridge, and the kids will love the snow there.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: For my own part...

      War makes racism fun!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Their EU subsidiaries are already declaring bankrupcy

    https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220301-european-subsidiary-of-russia-s-sberbank-to-enter-bankruptcy

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Their EU subsidiaries are already declaring bankrupcy

      In the UK that would probably mean the taxpayer takes over their debts.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Their EU subsidiaries are already declaring bankrupcy

        Well, if the subsidiaries declare bankruptcy their local creditors will struggle. Bank insurance will cover some of their losses but seeing as it was a political decision to impose sanctions, the government will probably cover the rest.

        The thornier issue is managing cross-border banking licences in the future.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    My guess is that its easier for Apple who is almost exclusively selling to end users to stop operations in Russia with no legal fall out.

    Where as SAP and Oracle might find the contracts they agreed with Sberbank means they are legally bound to continuing supporting Sberbank unless EU or US sanctions specifically forbid them or risk breaching the contract and potentially getting sued.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      So, caught between the hammer and the anvil then ?

      Right, exit stage left . .

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ITYM "between the hammer and the sickle"

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Contracts typically have a few "get out" clauses which include something like one party no longer being legally able to fulfill the contract.

      Apple will likely have a contract or two they have to break, like leases on Apple stores, but even if they take a hit on those that's chickenfeed to them. Either Apple or companies like SAP that aren't based in Russia don't have to worry too much about being sued by a Russian landland or Russian company using SAP. They can ignore it if sued in Russia, and can ask and likely get a judge to dismiss the case if sued on their home turf.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "heavy sanctions against Russia's [..] corrupt elite"

    Somehow I doubt that said corrupt elite is going to feel much of a pinch at all.

    Putin has been preparing his move since a while already, and I'm convinced that financial sanctions were on his list of things to mitigate. He will, obviously, have warned his ultra-rich friends, and the word will have spread because the rich have ways of finding things out when it comes to money.

    So I'm guessing that the Russian rich will just have to take an extended vacation in their datchas on the shores of the Black Sea. Oh, the humanity.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "heavy sanctions against Russia's [..] corrupt elite"

      "He will, obviously, have warned his ultra-rich friends, and the word will have spread because the rich have ways of finding things out when it comes to money."

      If they converted their dsllars, pounds and Euros to roubles they're not going to be happy.

      They have non-monetary assets which they will find difficult to shelter. A very effective threat might be to put in motion arrangements to sequester them and use the proceeds for post-conflict reconstruction in the Ukraine. It's surprising how quickly you can find you don't have any friends when the choice between friendship and being ultra-rich.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "heavy sanctions against Russia's [..] corrupt elite"

      Pascal Monett,

      As you say, it's pretty clear that Putin has planned this long in advance.

      However, there's been a lot of discussion about this because it's pretty clear that not even all of the army command were in on the plan - hence the poor performance particularly of the troops attacking from the North and North East. Neither were a lot of the government. Which could be why US and UK intelligence were sure there'd be an invasion (they predicted it in early December), but most other European intelligence agencies were much more doubtful, as were lots of think tank types and security journalists. Because their Russian sources were certain there wouldn't be a war.

      So it could well be that Putin dumped the oligarchs in the shit. Because the invasion looks so irrational, and so unlikely to achieve any of the objectives that anyone thought Putin might be trying to achieve - that htis was the reason so many people thought US and UK intelligence were talking bollocks.

      Also, when Putin prepared for this, he seems to have prepared by talking to his intelligence agencies. And they appear to know fuck-all about either economics or military matters. Either that or he doesn't take no for an answer anymore, so only gets told what he wants to hear. But it's clear they're not prepared for the level of sanctions that are hitting them And neither was their military plan up to standard - they seem to have ignored their own military doctrines and just gone for a lighting series of surprise attacks to sieze Ukrainian cities and decapitate the government nearly bloodlessly in order to have the operation mostly done within a couple of days. Why else would they launch troops across the border without even pausing to disable Ukraine's air defences - or try to send lightly armed paratroopers into cities in tiny numbers - with no heavy weapons, artillery or air backup.

      Sanctions are now so severe, that no oligarch with assets abroad is going to find it easy to access them. Unless they're in China, or maybe India and Brasil.

      They'll get easier to circumvent, as time goes on and vigilance drops. At the moment everyone is panicking about breaking them, and worried that a new sanction will come along tomorrow - so it's easier to just do nothing for a bit and wait and see.

      A lot of these sanctions are still new. So the big question is how tough will enforcement be. In general the US have been better at this than either the EU or the UK in the past. But that may change. There's been a major shift in sentiment. The UK for example has slowly been building the legislative tools to do this much more effectively, with things like Unexplained Wealth Orders and the like - and I think this invasion is just the shock to the system that's going to add the political will to the already existing momentum from think tanks, Parliamentary committees and the intelligence services who have wanted this to happen for years, and have been slowly building the tools.

      The oligarchs are probably going to suffer. The problem is, Putin doesn't care about them. He just uses them when he needs cash. But the second tier oligarchs, who are mostly his mates from his KGB days who run the state owned companies are also suffering. They're not really oligarchs, the Russian joke is that being an oligarch is actually their job. People like Sechin at Gazprom. Because Putin might actually listen to them, if they all tell him the sanctions are a disaster for the economy. But they're not really his peers, they're the help. It's the people running the security organs that he talks to every day. I guess this is the downside of him having been self-isolating for 2 years, to avoid getting Covid.

    3. Xalran

      Re: "heavy sanctions against Russia's [..] corrupt elite"

      The elite is going to feel the pain ( they are already feeling it )

      between the seized ships, the seized bank accounts and more... add the fact that they can't go in Malta, Italy, the French Riviera in their ( now seized ) luxury houses and that any luxury car hosted in said houses are now seized too...

      Oh and their Swiss bank account has also been seized, so the only money they can rely on is in Russia in Ruble, that's on it's way of not being worth the kopeks it's made of.

    4. Plest Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "heavy sanctions against Russia's [..] corrupt elite"

      Sadly, all too true. The rich, especially the super-rich, don't get rich from living by the same rules as we "mere mortals". They have the money and time to hire people who make sure that if you're super-rich you bloody well stay that way.

      Is funny watching the yachts get siezed by various EU govs but most old-fart, fat Russian rich sods are parking their big boy toys in the Maldives where there's no chance of them being siezed.

      Sadly we all know it's the poor, average working Joes in Russia, those who may or may not support theat psycho nutbag Putin, who will feel this coming down hard. Putin has no issues putting 8 year kids in clinky to frighten them to fall in line, he won't lose sleep if a few people million have to starve to death on the streets to satisfy his failing vanity project.

      Russians, do yourself a favour, take Putin and his mates outside, string 'em up and you'll be a lot happier in the long run!

  7. phuzz Silver badge
    Joke

    Sounds like a strong-arm tactic. If you forced me to use Oracle and SAP I's give in to any demands pretty quickly.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Is it possible the Russian army has outsourced its supply chain to Capita? That would certainly explain the fact they've had to have two operational pauses to sort their fucked up logistics out in a war that's only been going for a week.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @I ain't Spartacus - Maybe

        the supply chain for a large scale military operation is not the same as the supply chain for, let's say, Walmart or IKEA in peace time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @I ain't Spartacus - Maybe

          Whoosh.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Putin has a Plan B. Dildo Harding will come to the rescue once Crapita have fucked it up.

      3. MrBanana Silver badge

        I saw a Twitter thread from a military logistics expert who explained that the trucks they are using had been in longterm outdoor storage. Without regular use, UV exposure had damaged the tyres. Compounded by the automatic inflation systems that would then shred the carcass when the vehicle was brought back into service. Possibly explains that long queue of trucks that seem to be taking forever to travel just 30km to Kyiv.

        1. wyatt

          Yep, I read this as well it was quite interesting.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle Corporation has already suspended all operations in the Russian Federation.

    "On behalf of Oracle’s 150,000 employees around the world and in support of both the elected government of Ukraine and for the people of Ukraine, Oracle Corporation has already suspended all operations in the Russian Federation."

    https://twitter.com/Oracle/status/1499058658583490568?s=20&t=LS9wVv2K56QLhFodiJ-4xw

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle Corporation has already suspended all operations in the Russian Federation.

      Big fucking deal. Once again, we see two egomaniac billionaires bicker about who has the bigger bank balance/penis.

  9. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    A spelling question.

    In the line that begins "SAP is closely monitoring the situation related to Russia and Ukraine [sic] and is prepared..." the word Ukraine is given the (Spelling Intentionally Copied) tag to indicate that the misspelling was not the fault of the author, rather that of the source being quoted.

    But everywhere else I can find it, that's how Ukraine is supposed to be. Obviously I'm missing something. Could someone please enlighten me?

    *Sets out pints to help lubricate the throats of anyone that is thusly helpful*

    Thanks. =-)

    1. gc23

      Re: A spelling question.

      "sic", in this usage, is a Latin word meaning "so" or "thus" and is used to represent a quoted phrase with spelling or grammatical errors though your "backronym" is pretty funny. I think that the author was referring to Ukraine being formerly called "the Ukraine", a shortened form of the country's name under the Soviet Union of "the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic". That ("the Ukraine") form that has been officially depreciated by the Ukranian government.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A spelling question.

        English has a history of putting "The" in front of region/place names

        The Netherlands, The Wirral, The Gower, The Philippines, The Crimea

        1. XSV1

          Re: A spelling question.

          Indeed. Also "The Maldives".

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: A spelling question.

          The Netherlands is logical, because it's a description, not a name. Cf "the low countries".

          The Gower (Peninsula) and the Wirral (Peninsula) are abbreviations of descriptions. The same goes for the Phillipines. "Phillipine" is an adjective: the archipelago is "The Phillipine Islands" and the country is "The Phillipine Republic".

          1. schermer

            Re: A spelling question.

            It is a bit OT, BUT: the name is indeed "The Netherlands" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_the_Netherlands )

        3. MrBanana Silver badge

          Re: A spelling question.

          And "The Country Where Politicians Hide Their Money".

      2. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: A spelling question.

        I read that as how it is spelled locally, ending in an 'i'. Slava Ukraini!

        [Off/on topic: SWIFT is as unhackable as it gets. They have their own internal security division plus co-opted employees who are foreign intelligence officers. Without ever naming agencies my boss would introduce me to them, "This is Paul, French intelligence, David, Polish intelligence, John, American intelligence." I replied, "Hi. Danny, Scottish intelligence."

        They all exchanged glances except my Dutch colleague who spat out his coffee laughing.]

        [Off/on topic: Germany has just seized the super-yacht of Alisher Usmanov. His lawyers, Schillings, took down thousands of British websites calling him a kleptocratic war-criminal. I was so annoyed at Schillings that I started to phone their other clients to warn them who they were employing, and the reputational risk they were taking by association. I got through to Naomi Campbell's manager whose first words were a weary, "What has she done now?"]

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A spelling question.

          The BBC reported that Usmanov owns USM Holdings, who have investments in Everton Football Club. Their owner, Farhad Moshiri, is the chairman of USM Holdings. The EU have frozen his assets, so I imagine that seizing his super-yacht is part of this.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/60565945

          The BBC also included a response from him, saying that he would "use all legal means to protect my honour and reputation".

        2. spireite Silver badge

          Re: A spelling question.

          Ironic that, because you can now buy that yacht for mere shillings...

  10. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Unrelated to the article content

    "the EU's international partners including the UK..."

    THAT made me almost as sad as the war itself .

    1. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Unrelated to the article content

      No! No! No! Appreciate your point but let's not kick off with the "B-word" right now, we got Lavrov threatening that WW3 is coming and it'll be nuclear, we got bigger fish to fry than the "B-word".

  11. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I hope for Russians that ruble banknotes are soft so they can have a dual use.

  12. XSV1

    SWIFT

    I don't get why SWIFT hasn't been suspended to ALL Russian banks? That way sanctions can REALLY hit hard. Ditto for all VISA, Mastercard, American Express and Dinersclub cards

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SWIFT

      Sanctions hitting russian citizens - if a Russian company can't pay it's staff or a citizen can't pay for food. Or do you want a humanitarian crisis in Russia too, on top of Ukraine?

      1. MrBanana Silver badge

        Re: SWIFT

        Internally, Russia has its own bank transfer mechanism - SPFS. So Russian citizens will be able to continue with their day to day business. If Putin can get China and India hooked up to that, then SWIFT is less of an issue. Except for Germany etc needing to pay their gas bills.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SWIFT

        Or do you want a humanitarian crisis in Russia too, on top of Ukraine?

        Yes, why not? If you elect, support and facilitate a fascist dictator then you can expect the world's disapproval.

        1. Jedit Silver badge
          Headmaster

          "If you elect, support and facilitate a fascist dictator"

          A few years back the Russians ran a referendum in one of their conquests - South Ossetia, I think, but I can't be certain in the last 10 minutes of my lunch break - asking the people if they wanted to be part of Russia. Ballots were supposedly secret, but voters were not allowed to fold their papers and the ballot boxes were transparent ... and guarded. And amazingly, over 90% of voters had a surpassing love for the Rodina.

          Fascist dictators don't as a rule get elected - at least, not re-elected - and your choice to support and facilitate them or not is somewhat limited by the consequences if you don't. A lot of Russians want Putin gone, but they are too frightened to say so. For every one of the thousands of protestors on the streets, there will be ten more at home. But they know that these sanctions will end only when Putin does, and it is hoped that will in time bring more and more of them out against him.

        2. KBeee Silver badge

          Re: SWIFT

          Pretty hard not to elect the dictator, if everyone in opposition whose name might appear on the ballot is either poisoned, exiled, in prison or under house arrest.

      3. Jonathon Green
        Devil

        “… do you want a humanitarian crisis in Russia too, on top of Ukraine?”

        Traditionally one of the shortest routes to, and most effective levers for regime change has been a hungry and pissed off population. Infiltrate a relatively modest number of well motivated, well trained, and well connected former citizens with an axe to grind against the current incumbents into the powder keg and away we go (and away they go).

        Sucks to be the weaponised locals, but sucks a lot more to be a Ukrainian right now…

      4. Plest Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: SWIFT

        As they say we're only 3 meals from anarchy, people can get pretty motivated to sort out a failing leadership when their ribs are rattling.

        I don't wish to see honest hard working Russians starve but, they're being lied to by a bunch of old farts who only care about lining their own pockets, everyday Russians get a taste of the harsh life then they might turn on Putin and his cronies.

        Just wait until the Police and army don't get paid 'cos Putin gov has run out of cash...then it'll really kick off over there!! Let's face it the Ruskies have form when it comes to revolutions.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SWIFT

        That's very much part of the point of sanctions. Not just hitting the rich who, let's be honest, will remain largely unaffected, but also the wider populace. Cause disruption and unrest, divide the country, force infrastructure to be redirected elsewhere than the military, destabilise the government.

        Nobody wants any of this, but here it is. Everybody suffers, nobody gains. The Russian government, specifically senile, old, Putin, has brought this upon its own people, but wrought much worse on the people of Ukraine.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My beloved employers, a major UK university, use both SuccessFactors and Siebel CRM. Both are unbelievably shit. Just thought I would mention it.

    1. Plest Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Is it just me but why do all Siebel admins see their systems as holier than thou? Everyone Siebel person I've every come across seems to have the need to have 50 hosts, 17 databases and a chip the size of Gibralter on their shoulder.

      I remember discussing schema structure with someone from Siebel once, he said they don't believe in RDBMS constrainsts as they slow down the Siebel application, so the Siebel schema's has zero constraints like PKs or FKs to maintain data integrity. Instead the app maintains the integrity so you must never touch any Siebel DB structures or data directly, plus it ensure Siebel pro services can hire your a techie at £4k/day plus expenses.

      That was 15 years ago, has it improved?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There's a "Siebel faulty" joke in there, but I can't make it work.

        1. spireite Silver badge

          Shame you couldn't, because then your joke would tower above the rest of them.

          Of course, if you think that Siebel faulty, you read Manuel.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            I smell a rat here…

        2. Anonymous C0ward

          Don't mention the war!

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