President Vladimir Putin said he’d open an account in the Russian lender targeted under U.S. sanctions and have his salary payments transfered there.
“I already said I’m planning to open my personal account there,” Putin told reporters today in Moscow, referring to comments earlier today at a Security Council meeting. “What’s more, I’ve told the presidential affairs office to have my salary deposited there.”
Bank Rossiya, Russia’s 17th biggest lender according to the U.S.Treasury, was founded in 1990 by Yury Kovalchuk, Vladimir Yakunin and Andrey Fursenko, three associates of Putin who are also on the U.S. sanctions list. Kovalchuk holds about 38 percent of the bank, according to a regulatory filing.
The lender “absolutely doesn’t have any relationship to these events,” Putin said. “This bank has clients, and not only should we protect them, we should ensure that this financial institution doesn’t face any negative consequences, not for the bank or for its clients.”
Putin said he asked the central bank to support the lender. The Moscow-based regulator said in a statement earlier today that it was prepared to offer backing to protect the bank, its clients and creditors. Bank Rossiya is operating normally, though MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. halted processing for its bank cards, the lender said in statements on its website today.