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DeWine signs order prohibiting State of Ohio investment activity from aiding Russia

Mike DeWine
Posted at 2:28 PM, Mar 03, 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued an executive order calling for state agencies and pension funds to divest in any funds or investments involving a Russian company or institution.

Specifically, the order states "all state agencies, boards and commissions, state educational institutions, and pension funds, to the extent practicable, divest any investment in and terminate any contracts with a Russian institution or company."

Furthermore, the order states "all state agency procurement officers have specific standard contract language that prohibits the purchases of services from or investments in Russian institutions or companies and that all quotations, statements of work, and other proposals for services affirm they are in compliance with this order."

You can read DeWine's order in its entirety, here.

The order echoed Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's sentiments in a letter sent on Wednesday urging that the state's five public employee retirement funds divest themselves of Russian financial holdings.

Yost said the move was to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. He also said Russian assets are likely to devalue, given the country’s growing isolation, and widespread bankruptcies could affect the pension funds.

You can read Yost's letter, here.

As of Wednesday, two Ohio public employee pension programs had a combined $38 million invested in a Russian state-owned natural gas company, while another pension program had $147 million invested in the region.

  • The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) has about $25.1 million invested in Gazprom in a combination of stocks and bonds, according to a spokesman.
  • The School Employees Retirement System (SERS) has about $13 million invested in the company, according to a spokesman.
  • The School Teachers Retirement System (STRS) did not offer specifics on Gazprom, but a spokesman said it has about $147 million in Russia and Ukraine.

Gazprom is a natural gas driller, shipper, and seller, controlled by the Russian government and among the largest companies in the world. Gazprom’s stock price, has plummeted.
Before DeWine's executive order, none of the Ohio pensions announced plans to divest, and they all emphasized that their Gazprom and Russian holdings were but a small percentage of their investments.

RELATED: Ohio pensions have $38 mil in Russian-owned gas company; $147 mil more in region

The Ohio Capital Journal and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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