Russia’s Sberbank plunges amid warnings over collapse

Shares in Russia’s biggest state-controlled lender Sberbank have plunged as much as 74pc, as the European Central Bank warned it faced collapse.

London-listed shares in Sberbank hit a record low on Monday, after The Sunday Telegraph revealed that City law firms were preparing for the sanctions against the bank this week.

The European Central Bank warned that “owing to a deterioration of their liquidity situation”, Sberbank and its subsidiaries were “failing or likely to fail”.

It added that “the bank is likely to be unable to pay its debts or other liabilities as they fall due”.

Sberbank is also listed in Moscow, but the Russian stock exchange has yet to open. The Moscow Stock Exchange said on Monday morning it was delaying opening, but later said it would remain closed for the day.

The move comes as Russian businesses expect to be hit by tougher sanctions in the coming days, after Boris Johnson ordered a “full asset freeze” on VTB Bank, Russia’s second largest lender.

Other sanctions imposed on Russian firms last week included blocking them from being able to raise money on UK capital markets, and preventing Russian banks from being able to use SWIFT, a financial transaction system that is central to how businesses move money across the world. New curbs were also introduced on how much money Russian citizens were able to hold in UK banks.

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