Danish banks are lending billions to the Russian state

Expert thinks it’s problematic that Danish savings are lent directly to the Russian state

Danish banks and financial institutions have lent a total of 6.4 billion kroner to the Russian state despite an industry-wide goal to refrain from supporting states that systematically violate international standards, Ugebrevet A4 reports, based on its own analysis of Danish-owned Russian government bonds based on data from the national bank.

The lending has occurred despite the Danish Council for Corporate Responsibility adding Russia to a list of countries for which particular responsibility should be exercised when purchasing government bonds. The council cites the criticism of the country's infringement of opposition and minority rights, corruption and, most recently, its annexation of Crimea.

Straight into Russian's pockets
“The problem with government bonds is that the money goes directly into the state’s pockets,” Steen  Valentin, an associate professor specialising in responsible investment at Copenhagen Business School, told Ugebrevet A4.

“And we thereby support regimes we have problems with.”

Investors’ responsibility
The minister for business and growth, Henrik Sass Larsen, is of the opinion that, since Denmark has not imposed economic sanctions against Russia, it is up to the investors to decide whether or not to buy Russian government bonds.

“It’s investors’ own responsibility to invest responsibly and stick to their assessments,” he told Ugebrevet A4.