California pension fund increases investments in Russian sovereign debt despite looming sanctions

A bipartisan group of US senators presented a bill targeting Russian sovereign debt in August 2018 over Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections. The bill is currently being reviewed in the US Congress and if it passes will threaten several major American investors. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the biggest US pension fund has increased its investments in Russian sovereign debt by 8% over the last year up to $460 million, according to papers obtained by Bloomberg. This makes the fund the 10th biggest foreign investor in Russian government bonds among those who disclose such data. The increase in investments is taking place amid growing tensions between Washington and Moscow and threats to sanction Russian sovereign debt. CalPERS’ spokeswoman Megan White, cited by the media, said that the fund’s investments “follow federal and state laws” and are made in compliance “with directives from the CalPERS board.”

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