Belarus: Europe’s banks help bail-out Lukashenko
29 August 2011
“RBS helped bankroll Europe's last dictator,” headlines The Independent, as it emerged that the majority state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland and other European banks took part in a deal to issue more than $800m (€551m) in Belarusian government bonds. The London daily writes that, “While many international enterprises refuse to invest in the country and its repressive regime, RBS became involved in January this year, alongside the Russian bank Sberbank, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank. At the time, hundreds of people had just been arrested by Mr Lukashenko's KGB secret police and allegations of torture were widespread and credible.” After a October 2010 bond issue by the same syndicate which netted $1bn (€688m), such a deal is a “a lifeline for a country that has been struggling to stay afloat amid widespread government corruption, economic mismanagement and consistent human rights violations”, the Independent notes.