UPDATE 1-Russian government doesn't support "tough" law on foreign banks - deputy PM

Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:04pm EDT

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MOSCOW Jun 25 (Reuters) - Russia is unlikely to ban major companies from holding accounts at foreign banks as part of a new law, as some media reports have suggested, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

Kommersant newspaper on Tuesday cited an unnamed source as saying the Finance Ministry had prepared legal amendments that would bar state companies, and private companies deemed to be of strategic significance, from having accounts at foreign-owned banks.

"In the (form of the) extremely tough position that was published in the press, hardly anyone supports this law," Shuvalov told journalists on Wednesday.

"In such a form, I don't support it."

However, Shuvalov, seen as one of the most important economic policymakers in President Vladimir Putin's government, said that some form of law on accounts at foreign banks was nevertheless in the works and would soon be ready for consideration by the government.

"It is being pushed. There are pushers," he said.

The plan to change the law for banks is seen as a response to threats of further Western sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine.

Later on Wednesday, the Interfax news agency quoted Russia's Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev as saying he believed the new regulations on banks should take the form of capital requirements rather than focus on the country of origin.

Analysts have criticised any plan to restrict Russian companies' use of foreign-owned banks' services, saying it would deter investment. (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya, writing by Jason Bush; Editing by Susan Fenton/Ruth Pitchford)

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