Société Générale blow after 'bribe' arrest in Russia

The chief executive of Société Générale's Russian unit Rosbank was held in Moscow yesterday on suspicion of receiving bribes, dealing a knock to the French bank's hopes of achieving a turnaround in its primary foreign market.

The move is a blow against one of the few international banks left in Russia. Other Western banks, including Barclays and HSBC, have pulled out in recent years, having paid up to four times book value to get a foothold in Russia, only to find they could not compete with state-backed banks.