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Reports: VTB to off-load stake in sanctions-hit Evrofinance-Mosnarbank

VTB Bank PJSC agreed to transfer its 25% stake in JSCB Evrofinance-Mosnarbank Bank JSC to Russia's Federal Agency for State Property Management, with the transfer procedure launched already at the beginning of 2019, Reuters reported March 12.

VTB Bank's head Andrey Kostin confirmed the agreement, noting that the transfer will be carried out to the Russian state for free, the newswire also said March 14.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Evrofinance-Mosnarbank on March 11 for the lender's alleged dealings with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, which has been on the U.S. Treasury's sanctions list since January.

Kostin said earlier in 2019 that VTB wanted to sell its stake in Evrofinance-Mosnarbank, but concluding a deal was difficult as the bank is regulated by an intergovernmental agreement. Venezuela's state development fund Fonden holds a 49.99% stake in Evrofinance-Mosnarbank.

AO Gazprombank, which also has a 25% stake in Evrofinance-Mosnarbank, wanted to sell its holding in the lender as well, but the situation has changed and a decision will have to be made on what to do with the holding, Gazprombank's deputy head Famil Sadygov told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Evrofinance-Mosnarbank said March 13 that Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. stopped servicing payment cards issued by the lender due to U.S. sanctions. The lender said it plans to start offering its clients cards serviced by Russia's national payment system Mir to replace the existing cards.