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    Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

    Change of IMF Lending Rule Raises Question of Impartiality

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    The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) change of lending policy ahead of Ukraine’s deadline to repay its sovereign debt to Russia raises the question of impartiality on the part of the US-based institution, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The IMF’s board of directors voted on Tuesday to allow lending to countries that have outstanding arrears to official creditors. Ukraine, which restructured its $15 billion foreign debt this fall, is widely expected to default on $3 billion of its Eurobond debt to Russia by December 20.

    "We are concerned that changing this policy in the context of Ukraine’s politically charged restructuring may raise questions as to the impartiality of an institution that plays a critical role in addressing international financial stability," Siluanov wrote in a late Wednesday Financial Times opinion piece.

    The minister said the IMF was widely reported to have acknowledged Russia’s loan, coming from the National Wealth Fund that can only invest in securities and structured as a Eurobond, as an "official credit." Ukraine nonetheless treated Russia’s claim as a "private credit" while excluding other official credits from its 20 percent write-off and a four-year maturity extension.

    "In addition to refusing to treat Russia’s claim as an official credit, Ukraine has contractually committed in its new private-sector bonds not to repay Russia’s claim in accordance with its terms, and not to offer Russia an alternative having a value even equal to the package offered to private sector creditors," Siluanov added.

    Speaking to reporters after the IMF's decision, the Russian minister said it was aimed specifically at hurting Russia and allowing Ukraine to legally default on its debts.

    Russia previously offered to restructure Ukraine's Eurobond, suggesting yearly installments of $1 billion between 2016 and 2018, based on guarantees from US, EU or other international financial institutions.

    Earlier on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to file a lawsuit against Ukraine if Kiev fails to repay its debt to Moscow by the December 20 deadline.

    Topic:
    Crisis in Ukraine (116)

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    International Monetary Fund, lending, Anton Siluanov, Ukraine, Russia
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