Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) joined his colleagues in signing a letter circulated by assembly member Ken Zebrowski to State Comptroller DiNapoli requesting his office to take actions regarding divestment from certain Russian state-owned investments and assets.
The letter requests that the Office of State Comptroller immediately begin divesting from any company or individual (blocked persons), including businesses owned by such individuals, who are subject to sanctions by the federal government. As of March 31, 2021, the Common Retirement Fund invested in at least two Russian state-owned enterprises, Sberbank of Russia ($50.4 million) and Rosneft OJSC ($8.5 million).
The letter also suggests that the state-owned enterprise definition be developed in order to identify any entities, not currently subject to sanctions by the federal government that are Russian state-owned enterprises and divest from such entities. Also, an investment policy should be created which will guide investment managers, consultants, and any other individual or entity who is responsible for investing retirement funds to avoid any investments that are Russian state-owned enterprises.
“I believe that this is an appropriate decision in response to the Russian Federation for unprovoked and violent attacks against Ukraine and its citizens. The world cannot be silent to aggressors like Putin. His actions must not only be condemned by the world, but a way must be found to stop him We are praying for the families in Ukraine who are being subjected to a war waged by a tyrant. Russian Federation has blatantly invaded Ukraine, without any provocation, subjecting millions of people to harm, with his brutal thirst for power,” Colton stated.