Russian bank customers barred by Visa, Mastercard as US sanctions bite

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MOSCOW – Several Russian banks on Friday saw their customers barred from using Visa and MasterCard credit cards as US economic sanctions over Russia’s takeover of Crimea began to dig in.

US-based Visa and MasterCard have stopped servicing the credit cards of customers at Russian banks due to the economic sanctions announced in Washington, the banks said Friday.

A Visa spokesman told ITAR-TASS news agency that the move was to “in order to comply with US law” and concerned four banks: Bank Rossiya, Sobinbank, SMP Bank and InvestKapitalBank.

US President Barack Obama on Thursday said a list of Russians targeted by sanctions had been extended to include billionaire businessmen bankers believed to be close to Putin.

One bank, Bank Rossiya, was also added, described as a “crony bank” for the elite.(AFP)

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