Russia bans 80,000 borrowers from travelling abroad

MOSCOW, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Russian bailiffs have recovered millions of rubles in debt from delinquent borrowers by barring them from travelling abroad until they pay up.

Government bailiffs said they had signed orders for 82,000 foreign travel bans and recovered almost 800 million roubles ($24.25 million) from debtors -- some of whom only found out when they arrived at the border with their bags packed.

“The scheme has been very effective, a phenomenal success,” Natalya Selivanova, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bailiff Service, said on Tuesday.

The foreign travel bans, introduced early last year, were issued only after several warnings and a court decision, Federal Bailiff Service Director Artur Parfenchikov said.

“If someone can’t keep up his payments on a $100,000 debt and then buys a package tour to Thailand ... that’s not just illegal, it’s immoral,” he told a briefing in Moscow.

Russia has long been forced to use unusual measures to reclaim debts as its legal system often favours poorer borrowers over their lenders, said Richard Hainsworth, director of RusRating, a credit agency in Moscow.

Russian authorities have posted the names of people with unpaid bills on billboards in recent years to shame them into paying.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Nick Vinocur; +7495-7751242 $1=32.99 Rouble