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Waukegan, IL – As a result of the unlawful invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries on Russia, Lake County Treasurer Holly Kim will conduct a review to ensure that taxpayer funds are not being invested in Russian companies.
“I have directed my staff and our money managers to review Lake County’s portfolio to make sure we are not holding investments in Russian companies,” said Kim.
The issue was brought up by Finance & Administrative Committee Chair Paul Frank. “Given recent events in Ukraine and the US response, we want to make sure that Lake County funds comply with the sanctions,” said Frank. At the March 3, 2022 meeting of the Finance & Administrative Committee, Frank noted that his grandfather was from Zhytomyr in Ukraine.
The Treasurer’s Office manages approximately $350 million of investments for Lake County. “These funds are subject to the Illinois Public Funds Investment Act. The law prohibits direct investment in foreign companies, and we follow the law. However, we want to make sure that we are not investing in US subsidiaries of Russian companies. In the unlikely event that we do have investments in US subsidiaries of Russian companies, we will liquidate those holdings,” Kim added.
Chief Deputy Treasurer Vasyl Markus attended the Finance & Administrative Committee meeting where the issue was discussed. Markus wore an orange tie at the meeting, explaining that the tie belonged to his father who was from Ukraine. “I decided to wear this tie because my father bought it during the Orange Revolution to celebrate Ukrainians who were fighting for their freedom and democracy in 2005. It seems that in their short independence, Ukrainians have had to fight to preserve their freedom and democracy every few years, this time against a literal invasion by another country. It seemed appropriate to wear this tie as we discuss what Lake County can do to help Ukraine.”
“We’re not taking this action to punish the Russian people, many of whom don’t support a war against their neighbor,” added Kim. “This war hurts both the Russian and the Ukrainian people.”
The review of investments will be completed within a week. It is unlikely that Lake County holds any investments that require divestment, but if any such investments are found they will be liquidated within 30 days. The Lake County Treasurer will not invest in Russian companies or their US subsidiaries as long as sanctions against Russia are in place.