(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s largest private lender, sanctioned by both the US and the European Union, is planning to open new offices in China after it expanded client support services for Chinese businesses.

Alfa Bank PJSC, controlled by sanctioned billionaire Mikhail Fridman and his partners, is applying to Chinese authorities to open branches in Beijing and Shanghai, according to a statement from the bank on Tuesday. It said it’s already providing services to “thousands of Chinese companies” that work with Russia and has launched a website and support for Chinese-speaking clients.

The US, the EU and its allies have sanctioned Russia’s key lenders since the start of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The US imposed blocking penalties against Alfa Bank shortly after the war began, while the EU added the lender to its sanctioned list last year. 

Moscow and Beijing have declared a “no limits” friendship that has so far helped Russia to weather international penalties. Even so, China’s state-owned banks have tightened curbs on funding to Russian clients after the US announced at the end of 2023 that it would impose secondary sanctions on lenders that facilitate the sales of restricted goods to Russia.

Read: Russia Pushes Its Largest Private Bank to Redomicile at Home

That hasn’t stopped Alfa Bank’s push into the Chinese market. Earlier this year, the lender received its first credit rating in the country from China Lianhe Credit Rating Co., Ltd. at AA- with a stable outlook. 

The lender’s new Chinese language website features payroll services, corporate account offerings, lending and the use of digital financial assets while also offering the help of Chinese speaking managers. 

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