Swiss commodity finance bank TradeXBank has been given the all-clear to engage in US dollar transactions, after US authorities removed sanctions on its predecessor, a subsidiary of Russian lender Sberbank. 

TradeXBank was formed in 2022 following extensive US and European restrictions on Russian financial institutions including Sberbank, introduced as a means of weakening the Kremlin’s revenues after the invasion of Ukraine. 

Geneva-based real estate and finance company m3 Groupe revealed in September that year it had acquired Sberbank Switzerland for an undisclosed fee, retaining its banking licence. It has since set its sights on financing trade in energy, metals, agricultural goods and fertiliser across the Emea region. 

Because Sberbank Switzerland remained subject to US sanctions, it had so far been prevented from operating in US dollars. However, TradeXBank announced this week that restriction no longer applies as Sberbank Switzerland has been removed from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control’s sanctions lists.  

It expects to resume dollar operations in the second half of this year. 

“This is an important milestone and puts to bed the final legacy issue from TradeXBank’s predecessor,” says Christian Lüscher, chairman of the board. 

“It underlines our unwavering commitment to the highest compliance standards. The bank fully adheres to Swiss and relevant international sanctions regimes and performs its operations in alignment with best market practices of leading Western banks.” 

Camille Sednaoui, who was appointed TradeXBank’s chief executive in January, says the decision allows the lender “to serve our clients and partners in all relevant currencies and markets in a normal way”. 

He says active operations in US dollars will support the bank’s growth ambitions, though adds: “Despite the restrictions, we were able to fulfil all our obligations to them and finish 2023 with a profit.”