JPMorgan not afraid to take on Gazprom business

Vladimir Putin Wags Finger

When JPMorgan agreed to lead a $700m bond offering for Russian gas producer Gazprom, it was doing business that some U.S. banks are afraid to do, several lawyers and a banker said.

Reuters reports that Gazprom faces U.S. sanctions after the U.S. government widened its restrictions against Russia in September. U.S. companies are prohibited from providing goods or technology to Gazprom and others, although they can provide financial services to the companies, meaning JPMorgan obeyed the law in underwriting bonds for the company. Gazprom announced pricing for the deal on last week.

Peter Kucik, a former U.S. Treasury official who left the department in March, said generally short-term transactions, such as underwriting bonds, should not be a problem. But he said U.S. companies need to be careful in conducting long-term business with Russian firms or banks, since sanctions could always get tougher in the future.

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In Gazprom deal, JPMorgan takes on business that some banks fear

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