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MasterCard switches off Russian Tempbank as US sanctioned

May 13, 2014, 15:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW
On May 8, the US Department of the Treasury included Tempbank and its senior executive Mikhail Gagloev on its sanction list as the bank provided the Syrian Government
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© EPA/PETER FOLEY

MOSCOW, May 13. /ITAR-TASS/. International payment system MasterCard has disconnected Russia's Tempbank from its services as the US sanctioned the bank over its financial help to Syria. The bank did not issue Visa cards, the bank’s press office told ITAR-TASS.

The disconnection that took place on Monday evening was “an inconvenience” but would not lead to grave negative consequences, said the spokesperson.

The bank is now actively seeking a solution, one of them being the use of local cards, primarily the Russian Union Card. The bank was going to cooperate with another international payment system, the spokesperson said without specifying the system’s name.

Tempbank denied rumours its customers were now unable to implement international transactions and recommended that its customers refrained from dollar transactions. “Our bank has now correspondent accounts in the US, so none of our customers’ accounts are frozen,” said the spokesperson.

On May 8, the US Department of the Treasury included Tempbank and its senior executive Mikhail Gagloev on its sanction list as the bank provided the Syrian Government, including the national central bank, with financing and services. The black list also included six Syrian officials and two oil-refining companies.

Tempbank is a universal commercial bank established in 1989. It is one of the three hundred Russian banks by assets and four hundred banks - by net profit.

SMP Bank also faced the US sanctions over Ukraine could see further pressures from Western countries, the head of the bank Dmitry Kalantyrsky told a news conference.

At the time of the first wave of anti-Russian sanctions in March, Kalantyrsky did not expect intensified pressures on the bank. The proverb “lightning does not strike twice” did not work here, he said, as “the sanctions are devoid of logic”, which means the course of events was unpredictable.

The bank was bracing itself for the worst but neither the bank nor its customers would suffer even if a negative scenario materialized, said Kalantyrsky.

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