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Cutting Russia off SWIFT banking network would be catastrophic — UniCredit representative

April 30, 2015, 8:37 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
In case of a cut-off, Russia will be much more effective in adopting a different system of payments, maybe in cooperation with China, and many Western banks will collapse
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© EPA/DANIEL DAL ZENNARO

WASHINGTON, April 30. /TASS/. The idea of cutting Russia off the SWIFT international banking payment system could turn into a catastrophe for the overall system of payments in Europe, the head of public affairs at UniCredit Group, Italy, Giuseppe Scognamiglio has said.

Speaking at a seminar on the Ukrainian economy in Washington on Wednesday, Scognamiglio said "we need to be very and very careful" when thinking about expanding sanctions against Russia amid the Ukrainian crisis.

Blocking Moscow from SWIFT in conditions when the trade turnover between Europe and Russia exceeds €300 billion would lead to two immediate consequences, he said.

"One is a possible collapse of many Western banks also. But the second more strategic and I think more dangerous in the long-term is that Russia will be much more effective in adopting a different system of payments, maybe in cooperation with China," Scognamiglio adding that these unintended consequences should be taken into consideration.

UniCredit is the largest banking group in Central and Eastern Europe that owns major banking networks in Russia and Ukraine. Although the company had to sell 20 branches in Crimea, it continues working in Donbass with due regard to the situation in the security sphere there.

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