MOSCOW, February 14 - RAPSI. According to the amendments to the Russian Code of Administrative Offences which became effective on February 13, Russian nationals may lose the accruals in their accounts with foreign banks, for example interest from savings or rental income, if the revenue was not transferred via a Russian bank.

The law also expands the definition of currency transactions, which previously only dealt with prohibited transactions. Now they also include transactions which violate the procedure stipulated in the legislation on currency.

"In practical terms, it means that all residents, including corporate entities and private individuals, will be punished for violating the rules for using their accounts abroad," Yelena Ovcharova, an expert on administrative and financial law at the Pepeliaev Group law firm, told the Prime business news agency.

She said that punishment is stipulated for using funds which were directly transferred to a foreign account by another person rather than from the given resident's account in an authorized bank in Russia. "This provision concerns the receipt and the use of interest from savings accounts with foreign banks and income from renting property abroad," Ovcharova said.

The fine will range from 75% to 100% of the prohibited currency transaction.

The Russian financial authorities will receive information about these transactions from the taxpayers themselves: Russian residents are bound by law to notify tax agencies about opening or closing accounts with foreign banks and also about changes in their bank details. The fine for failing to notify this is between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles ($133 to $166) for private individuals, 40,000-50,000 rubles ($1,330 to $1,660) for officials, and 800,000 to 1 million rubles ($26,600 to $33,255) for legal entities.