Sanctions-hit SMP says Visa, MasterCard stop providing services

MOSCOW, March 21 Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:10am EDT

MOSCOW, March 21 (Reuters) - Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc have stopped, without notification, providing services for payment transactions for clients at Russia's SMP bank, whose main shareholders were hit by U.S. sanctions, the bank said on Friday.

Washington imposed additional sanctions on Thursday against 20 Russians for involvement in the Ukraine crisis, including Boris Rotenberg and his older brother Arkady, who received large contracts for the Sochi Winter Olympics. They are co-owners of SMP Bank.

"Due to the fact that the sanctions were imposed on shareholders and not on the bank, we consider the moves by the payment systems unlawful and we are confident that we can resolve the encountered difficulties in the near future," the bank said in a statement.

The bank added it has no assets in the United States. (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Lidia Kelly, editing by Jason Bush)

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