In Short

Oregon will divest Russian investments, Treasurer Read says

By: - March 3, 2022 5:26 pm

State Treasurer Tobias Read announced Thursday that Oregon will dispose of its investments with the Russian government and Russian companies. (Oregon State Treasury)

Oregon will dispose of about $137 million invested with the Russian government and Russian companies over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, state Treasurer Tobias Read announced Thursday. 

The money is tied up in Russian bonds, public equity and currency and with Russian companies represents about 1/10th of 1% or the $135 billion in total funds administered by the state treasury, a spokeswoman said.

Read’s announcement follows moves by other states to pull investments from Russia and Russian companies, as well as the Oregon Liquor and Control Commission’s Monday direction to Oregon liquor stores to remove Russian vodka from their shelves. 

“The situation in Ukraine is serious, tragic, and growing more desperate by the day. I stand with Ukraine,” Read said in a statement. “I have directed my staff at Oregon State Treasury to work with relevant federal agencies and regulatory authorities to dispose of assets in Russian companies and government entities that have been sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control or any other relevant federal agencies.”

Read said he was pleased by announcements that finance companies are removing Russian companies from their stock indexes. He said his office is working with the U.S. Treasury to remove Oregon’s funds from Russian assets while following the law and maintaining its fiduciary responsibility to act in Oregon’s best interest. 

Of the $137 million in Russian assets, $122 million is in bonds, public equity and currency. Another $15 million is in the private market.

A spokeswoman for Read didn’t provide a list of investments Thursday afternoon. Publicly available reports show that Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement Fund had $36 million invested in Russian currency and government bonds, $28 million invested with Russian bank Sberbank and $15 million invested with JP Morgan’s investment trust for Russian investments as of June 30, 2021

Federal authorities sanctioned Sberbank last week with U.S. Treasury officials describing it as “uniquely important to the Russian economy, holding about a third of all bank assets in Russia. Sberbank is the largest financial institution in Russia.”

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Julia Shumway
Julia Shumway

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.