Western countries' use of economic sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine is prompting some international clients of Citigroup Inc to explore new ways to conduct trade and finance, the bank's chief executive said on Monday.

In the Middle East, CEO Jane Fraser said, "you hear the clients there talk about the fact that they don't trust the western financial order to put all of their eggs in that basket going forward, that they are going to be looking at other places."

Fraser, speaking on a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference, added: "You have to anticipate the splintering of the old global financial order, the acceleration of new venues."

Citigroup is the most internationally diversified of big banks based in the United States. It provides trade finance to corporations and wealth management to billionaires around the world.

"This weaponization of financial services is a very, very big deal," Fraser said. "It will probably accelerate the recognition of the emerging markets and the development of their own domestic capital markets."

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Citi CEO Jane Fraser
Citi CEO Jane Fraser speaks at the 2022 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 2, 2022. Photo: Reuters / MIKE BLAKE