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Report: Evrofinance-Mosnarbank faces forex trading restrictions due to sanctions

JSCB Evrofinance-Mosnarbank Bank JSC will retain access to the Moscow Exchange markets, but its foreign exchange operations will be subject to restrictions, Reuters reported March 15.

Evrofinance-Mosnarbank trades on the Moscow Exchange's currency market but recently notified its clients that it halted the processing of dollar payments following the imposition of U.S. sanctions over its dealings with Venezuelan state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, which itself has been operating under sanctions since January.

A source told Reuters that the bourse had not imposed restrictions on the lender's accounts or assets. However, the bank lost access to settlements in foreign currency as its forex operations are likely to be blocked by foreign financial institutions to comply with the U.S. measures.

With offices in Moscow, Caracas and Beijing, the lender held a corresponding U.S. dollar account at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, as well as corresponding accounts in other currencies at VTB Bank PJSC, the newswire reported.

Reuters also said Russian authorities will consider providing Evrofinance-Mosnarbank with additional capital. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the situation at the bank is stable and a potential capital boost would be preceded by consultations with the central bank on whether the lender complies with capital requirements.

The main shareholder in Evrofinance-Mosnarbank is Venezuela's state development fund Fondo De Desarrollo Nacional, holding a 49.99% stake, while Russian state-controlled lenders VTB and AO Gazprombank each own a 25% stake in the lender. VTB CEO Andrey Kostin confirmed that the lender agreed to transfer its Evrofinance stake to Russia's Federal Agency for State Property Management, and Gazprombank has similar plans, Reuters said.

The newswire also said in its March 14 report that Gazprombank divested its indirect stake in Petrozamora, a joint venture launched together with PDVSA in 2012 to develop Venezuelan oil fields.