Russia’s second largest bank VTB Bank will get a share of votes in the City of London Corporation election on Thursday, despite being severely sanctioned by the UK government.
The powerful local authority allows businesses located in the City to have a certain number of votes, depending on how many staff they have, as only 8,000 people actually live in the Square Mile.
A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation told City A.M. that VTB Capital – the institution’s investment banking arm based in London – will still get its quota of votes in the upcoming election in a development described as “extremely concerning” by Labour MP Liam Byrne.
Employes of the state-owned bank will be allowed to participate in the poll to elect the Corporation’s 100 councillors, despite having all its British assets frozen and being banned from operating in the UK.
This included being removed from the London Stock Exchange last month.
It is unclear if City-based Sberbank – Russia’s largest bank who are also under strict UK sanctions – will still get its share of votes for the election.
A City of London Corporation spokesperson said: “It is individual workers – not companies or organisations – who are entitled to register to vote in the City of London elections.
“These voters are UK, Irish, Commonwealth or European Union citizens who are entitled to vote as they would be in any other election.”
VTB is Russia’s second largest bank and has been accused of funding the country’s military expansionism in Ukraine.
In the lead-up to Vladimir Putin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, VTB dedicated an entire floor of its Moscow headquarters to funding the military operation.
Labour backbencher, and former Treasury minister, Liam Byrne said: “At a time when we have a responsibility to stand with the Ukrainian people as they resist Russian aggression, this is extremely concerning. Putin’s government needs to be treated like the pariah.”
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities declined to comment.