In recent years, some other companies related to Russia also encountered similar actions by Finnish banks
HELSINKI, August 3. /TASS/. Russia’s trade mission in Finland hopes to resolve the situation with the closure of Argus Spectrum International’s accounts in Finnish banks, a representative with the trade mission told TASS on Tuesday. Argus Spectrum International is the Russian manufacturer of security and fire alarms and warning systems, which opened production in the Finnish city of Savonlinna a few years ago.
Argus Spectrum's subsidiary Asi Oy LTD is currently experiencing serious banking difficulties. On July 16, the banking concern OP blocked the company's accounts, on July 19 by DanskeBank did the same.
In recent years, some other companies related to Russia also encountered similar actions by Finnish banks.
“The Savonlinna city administration, the Russian embassy and trade mission are providing active support in resolving this situation [with Asi]. We have repeatedly raised the issue of unreasonable refusals of Finnish banks to open new accounts, termination of servicing previously opened accounts of companies and citizens of the Russian Federation, as well as Finnish companies with Russian capital at various levels,” the trade mission’s representative said.
“In our opinion, such decisions on the part of banks negate the active measures to support business, which are provided by local and state authorities, as well as the existing development institutions of Finland. In the current circumstances, Finland is losing its image of the most attractive country in Europe for foreign investors, which had been formed thanks to the state policy over the years,” the trade mission stressed.
The officials noted that “a kind of reply” like “we are commercial institutions, so we decide for ourselves who we work with,” or “they could not provide us with information “- in the absence of a clearly formulated list of necessary documents or at least a request – is “more suitable for relations in the market, not for European banking institutions.”
“We expect that, according to the agreement, before the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission [on economic cooperation], a seminar will be held with the participation of interested parties, initiated by the Bank of Russia in May 2021. We express the hope that the problem will be resolved,” they said.
Argus Spectrum International announced the opening of production in Finland in 2019. In March 2019, its management and the city hall signed a cooperation agreement.
Since 2018, the trade mission has been accompanying the investment project of the company, which has so far invested about 3 million euros in the production of wireless signaling, warning and localization systems in Savonlinna. The volume of export shipments of the company from Finland in 2021 is estimated at 2 million euros, in 2022 – 5 million euros. Deliveries are made, in particular, to the markets of the UK, UAE, India and Australia.
The Argus Spectrum project in Savonlinna is actively supported by the state and municipal authorities of Finland, the trade mission said. However, the restriction of banking services, they noted, “entails a complete inability to carry out current commercial activities, to fulfill their obligations as a taxpayer to the state, as well as to counterparties, company employees, to maintain proper accounting records.” The settlements were transferred to Russian banks.
Argus Spectrum International was founded in 1993 in St. Petersburg. Its wireless fire alarm devices have been installed at 100,000 sites around the world, including the UK, Belgium and Germany.