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Russia's SMP says around nine billion rubles withdrawn since sanctions

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian bank SMP showed the impact of U.S. punitive measures over Ukraine on Monday, saying around 9 billion rubles ($248 million) had been withdrawn by depositors since Washington imposed sanctions against two of its shareholders last week.

Washington imposed sanctions on Thursday against 20 Russians close to President Vladimir Putin over Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine crisis, including Boris Rotenberg and his older brother Arkady, the co-owners of SMP Bank.

SMP CEO Dmitry Kalantyrsky told a news conference that an estimated 4 billion rubles had been withdrawn by individuals and 5 billion by organizations.

On Friday, SMP said Visa and MasterCard had stopped providing services for payment transactions for its clients. On Sunday service had resumed, it said.

Kalantyrsky said the stoppage of services had been an over-zealous reaction because sanctions were imposed on the shareholders, not the bank.

"(The shareholders) expressed their willingness, if necessary, to support the bank with money," Kalantyrsky said, but stressed the bank has enough liquidity.

St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, which was sanctioned alongside its chairman and largest shareholder Yuri Kovalchuk, said separately in a statement it had asked its clients to refrain from making foreign currency payments to accounts at the bank due to the U.S. sanctions.

Kovalchuk said in a television interview on Sunday the sanctions had backfired by helping him win new clients among patriotic Russians. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that he would open an account at the bank.

(Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Megan Davies; Editing by Maria Kiselyova and Elizabeth Piper)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140324/russias-smp-says-around-nine-billion-rubles-withdrawn-sanctions