March 13, 2018 / 11:18 AM / 3 months ago

Sberbank sees client interest in Russia's planned Eurobond

MOSCOW, March 13 (Reuters) - Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank expects the sovereign’s forthcoming sale of a $3 billion Eurobond to draw strong interest from Russians seeking to return funds from abroad to avoid potential U.S. sanctions, its deputy CEO said.

Bella Zlatkis also said Sberbank was willing to help arrange the bond sale, which a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week was planned for March.

“We have a lot of clients for which, in fact, this asset will be issued,” Zlatkis said on Tuesday.

The finance ministry has promised to give preference to Russian investors when selling Eurobonds this year, in line with an order from President Vladimir Putin that such bonds be used to help Russians holding capital abroad bring their money home.

Unlike holders of bank accounts, Eurobond investors can remain anonymous. Wealthy Russians facing the prospect of targeted U.S. sanctions had floated the idea of a special treasury bond that would allow them to bring their cash home.

VTB Capital, the investment banking unit of Russia’s second biggest bank VTB has been appointed by the finance ministry to arrange the Eurobond sale and a swap of old debt for new bonds.

Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya Writing by Katya Golubkova Editing by Catherine Evans

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