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(Reuters) – The European Central Bank (ECB) has clashed with UniCredit over the Italian lender’s plans to return cash to shareholders and its failure to leave Russia, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The ECB had objected to UniCredit’s commitment to distribute 16 billion euros ($15.85 billion) to shareholders by 2024, saying the move ran contrary to official guidance that “banks should not set their dividend policies in terms of absolute amounts”, the newspaper said, citing people briefed on the discussions.

The report further said that, there is also tension over UniCredit’s failure to cut ties with Russia, as the ECB views the bank’s Russian presence as an unwelcome source of risk and has been pushing it to exit the country.

UniCredit last month said it expected a 400 million euro contribution from the ECB’s longer-term funds this year under the central bank’s new terms, while it no longer saw any potential benefits next year.

The ECB and UniCredit did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

($1 = 1.0094 euros)


(Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru; Editing by Paul Simao)


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