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US softens Crimea ban to allow personal remittances

January 31, 2015, 4:44 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

The remittances cannot be used to support a business, including a family-owned business

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© ITAR-TASS/Valeriy Matitsin

WASHINGTON, January 31. /TASS/. US citizens and also banking institutions, brokers and dealers have been allowed to send and receive money transfers to and from Crimea as long as they are "non-commercial," the US Treasury Department said on Friday.

The move comes after US President Barack Obama ordered last month a ban on the export of goods, technology and services to Crimea, which refused to recognized the legitimacy of the Kiev authorities and rejoined Russia following a referendum in March.

The US Treasury Department said the US-registered money transmitters will be authorized to process the transfers of funds to or from Crimea if the transfers involve non-commercial and personal remittances.

The transfers can be to or by individuals who are not targeted by the US sanctions. The remittances cannot be used to support a business, including a family-owned business.

The US authorities still ban the sales or the lease of telecommunications equipment or technologies in Crimea.

In December, international payment systems Visa and MasterCard stopped providing services for payment transactions for clients in Crimea amid the US sanctions against Russia.

Late last month, the Russian National Commercial Bank (RNCB), one of the largest Russian banks in Crimea, suspended transfers in dollars citing risks that the funds could be blocked by counter-agents.

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