MOSCOW, April 29 U.S. payment-card firm Visa
said on Tuesday it would suspend network services to
Russian banks SMP and InvestCapitalbank, which were sanctioned
on Monday by the United States, in order to comply with U.S.
"We regret any disruptions that the institutions, their
cardholders or merchants may experience," Visa said in a
statement. "All of Visa's systems are processing normally, and
we continue to service our other unaffected Russian clients."
Rival MasterCard Inc said on Monday it would suspend
services in the near future to cards issued by SMP bank and
InvestCapitalbank and SMP bank were hit with sanctions on
Monday in retaliation for Russia's involvement in Ukraine. Both
banks are controlled by the Rotenberg brothers, Boris and
The Rotenbergs, linked to big contracts on gas pipelines and
at the Sochi Olympics, were named on a previous U.S. sanctions
list issued in March after Russia annexed the Crimea region of
Russia recently revived plans to develop its own card
payment system to cut its dependence on Visa and Mastercard
after U.S. sanctions led to disruptions in their services last
month. Both stopped providing services for
payment transactions for clients at Bank Rossiya and its unit
Sobinbank after the March sanctions.
(Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Megan Davies; Editing
by Larry King)