MOSCOW, June 26 Amendments to Russian banking laws will not ban strategic companies from having accounts in foreign banks, but it will impose new capital requirements on banks that do business with such companies, the country's finance minister said on Thursday.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant earlier this week cited an unnamed source as saying the Finance Ministry had prepared amendments that would ban state and private companies deemed to be of strategic significance from having accounts at foreign-owned banks.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists on Thursday that the amendments contained no such restrictions but were aimed at keeping state companies' money safe, including in the event of sanctions, the Interfax news agency reported.
"The draft law does not contain a ban on strategic companies working with foreign banks or carrying out settlements abroad," Siluanov said. But it would impose new capital requirements on banks working with strategic companies.
He said the draft law would be sent to Russia's lower house of parliament soon so that it could be considered in the State Duma's spring session, which ends in July.
One of the most important economic policymakers in President Vladimir Putin's government, Igor Shuvalov, said on Wednesday he did not support a ban on major companies having accounts at foreign banks.
Plans to change the law on banks are seen as a response to threats of further Western sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
Analysts had criticised any plan to the use by Russian companies of services that foreign-owned banks offer, saying that would deter investment. (Reporting by Alexander Winning, Editing by Jason Bush, Larry King)