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Putin signs law banning foreign banks from opening branches

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President Vladimir Putin has signed a government-sponsored law banning foreign banks from opening branches in Russia, RIA Novosti reported, citing a statement by the government’s website last week. The bill was adopted by the State Duma on February 22 and approved by the Federation Council on March 6. The bill amends a number of existing Russian banking laws as part of a strategy to develop the domestic banking sector by 2015, and consolidates the agreements reached by Russian negotiators during talks on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization. The law excludes branches from the definition of the banking system in Russia. It also removes the phrase “branches of foreign banks” from articles on the state registration of credit institutions with foreign investment and on additional requirements for their establishment and activity. Foreign capital in the Russian banking sector is held in subsidiaries of foreign banks, registered in accordance with Russian legislation.

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