MOSCOW, March 23 Visa Inc and MasterCard
Inc have resumed services for payment transactions for
clients at Russia's SMP bank, whose main shareholders were
affected by U.S. sanctions, the bank said on Sunday.
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 had said on Friday that Visa and MasterCard had stopped
providing services for payment transactions for clients at
Russia's SMP bank.
The bank said the decision to stop providing services by
Visa and MasterCard was unlawful because the sanctions were
imposed on shareholders, not the bank, which said it has no
assets in the United States.
"We are glad that the two biggest international payment
systems have heard our arguments and reversed their decision to
block (SMP bank transactions)," SMP bank CEO Dmitry Kalantyrsky,
said in a statement.
The bank has about 100 branches covering more than 20
Russian cities, according to its website.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel and Oksana Kobzeva. Editing
by Jane Merriman)