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Chinese banks refuse servicing offshore accounts of Russian clients

The move may be linked with a fear of worsening relations with the US at the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine, experts say

BEIJING, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Chinese commercial banks have started refusing transferring money of Russian clients through offshore accounts, according to a letter from Ping An Bank seen by PRIME on Wednesday.

The move may be linked with a fear of worsening relations with the US at the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine, some experts and Russian businessmen said.

“We are sorry to inform you that you need to come to us to close your account. We can no longer service you as your company is somewhat related to Russia,” the bank said in the letter to a commercial company.

After being asked by one of its clients about the reasons of such actions, a Chinese bank sent a response with a link to the US Treasury Department’s website containing the information on the US sanctions against Russia, Alexander Zainigabdinov, head of consulting company China Window’s Beijing branch, told PRIME.

Several companies specializing in opening offshore accounts in China said on their websites that service is temporary suspended.

Companies registered in Hong Kong or other offshore zones can have accounts in some Chinese banks, and the accounts are excluded from control of Chinese regulators. This mechanism is popular among companies trading with China. Many intermediary companies using the mechanism in Russian-Chinese trade are controlled by Russian citizens.

Chinese banks Ping An, China Merchants and Bank of Communications which work with Russian clients under the mechanism, provided no comments on the matter.