The US’s sanctions issued over Russia annexation of Crimea have resulted in MasterCard and Visa blocking a number of Russian bank customers.
MasterCard has already published that it has ceased activities with Rossiya Bank, Sobinbank and SMP Bank. However, MasterCard has yet to cease activities with other banks located in Russia at this time.
According to a report from RT, Visa has not made any official statements. Visa has cut off all activities with SMP Bank, Sobinbank, Rossiya Bank, and Investcapitalbank.
Rossiya Bank, one of the banks cut off by both firms has released an official apology to its users and account holders.
“The management of Rossiya understands the difficulties of clients in the current situation and will do all it can to solve them,” the bank said in a statement to RT.
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Another report published by The Guardian states US officials have made a point to have Rossiya Bank “frozen out” from the US dollar. Representatives in Washington have stated they believe the bank is the primary bank of the majority of Russian officials. Russian president Vladimir Putin has stated the restrictions posed by the US and the 2 largest card firms in the world have nothing to do with the events in Crimea.
“I personally don’t have an account there, but I certainly will open one on Monday,” Putin said in a meeting with Russia’s Security Council.
Both MasterCard and Visa have a history of bowing to political pressure as with blocking donations to WikiLeaks after government order.
“The international payment system should correspond to the standards of the international payment system. That means it should not switch the tumblers on and off, depending on their own will, especially as it undermines their own foundations,” Garegin Tosunyan, the president of the Association of Russian Banks (ARB) stated in regards to the restrictions.
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