MOSCOW, March 25 Russian banks may want to
develop their business in Crimea, with VTB's Bank of
Moscow most interested in expanding there, Kommersant newspaper
reported on Tuesday citing sources.
Moscow formally annexed Crimea last week and since then its
forces have been seizing Ukrainian military bases. Russia's
action has drawn strong criticism from the European Union and
the United States, which have imposed sanctions mainly against
Kommersant reported that an option being considered for
Crimea's banks could lead to a Russian bank establishing 300
branches in the region. Crimea has around 70 banks currently
registered with the National Bank of Ukraine.
The paper reported that Bank of Moscow, bought by Russia's
second largest bank VTB in 2011, is showing the greatest
interest in such a plan. It may not open branches under its own
name, but through a subsidiary, the paper cited a source as
Bank of Moscow declined to comment.
Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev has been
quoted by Russian media as saying Crimea will drop the Ukrainian
hryvnia and adopt the Russian rouble in April, and will have a
banking system completed by April 15.
(Reporting by Megan Davies. Editing by Jane Merriman)