MOSCOW, March 21 (RAPSI) – Visa and MasterCard payment systems on Friday blocked operations with SMP Bank owned by Russian businessmen Arkady and Boris Rotenbergs added to a list of targeted economic sanctions by the United States on Thursday, according to the bank’s statement.
On Thursday, the Rotenberg brothers were included in the economic sanctions list imposed against Russian officials over the Ukrainian developments. Arkady Rotenberg heads SMP Bank’s board of directors, and owns a 38% share. A similar share is owned by his brother Boris Rotendberg.
The new sanctions were in response to a vote held Thursday in Russia’s parliament ratifying the reunification of Crimea with Russia after 60 years as part of Ukraine. A referendum in the region held Sunday saw voters overwhelmingly support leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.
Along with Rotenberg brothers, who are presumed to have close ties with Vladimir Putin, the sacntions were imposed against Andrei Fursenko, presidential aide; Sergei Ivanov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office; Sergei Mironov, Duma lawmaker and leader of A Just Russia party; Sergey Naryshkin, Speaker of the Russian State Duma; and businessman Gennady Timchenko.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned earlier this month that sanctions against Russia threatened to cause mutual damage in the modern, integrated global economy.
The US and EU announced asset freezes and travel bans targeting a number of Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin on Monday, following Crimea’s referendum.
Crimea, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev that came to power amid often violent protests last month and sought reunification with Russia.