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Russia hints at compromise as Visa threatens to quit


A senior Russian lawmaker on Wednesday hinted at a compromise on tough legislation on international payment systems set to come into force in July after Visa (NYSE: V - news) threatened to quit Russia.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law this month forcing international payment systems to hand over vast deposits to operate from July 1.

Visa has warned it may be forced to pull out of Russia due to the law, passed in response to US sanctions that saw customers at several Russian banks barred from using foreign cards after the imposition of US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

The legislation orders international payment systems to every year deposit in Russia's central bank a sum equivalent to two days worth of transactions in the country.

Visa CEO Charles Scharf said Tuesday he was "very troubled" by the demanded payment of "hundreds (of millions of dollars)" in collateral.

He said in an audio recording on Visa's website that the legislation "just goes beyond what we would be willing to do".

The deputy head of the lower house's committee on financial markets, Anatoly Aksakov, acknowledged the concerns from international payment systems.

"They have put forward their position, that the figure is too high," Aksakov said in comments to the RIA Novosti news agency.

"A compromise will be found by July 1. That is my point of view," he said, predicting "the level of the deposits in the law will simply be lowered."

He said Russia must create conditions for Mastercard and Visa "so that it is interesting for them to work on the Russian market."

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov also said Tuesday that it was essential for Visa and Mastercard to continue to operate in Russia.

"We can't stop using these systems since more than 90 percent of users of payment systems work with them," Siluanov told Interfax news agency.

In March, Putin said Russia would create the country's own credit card system in response to US sanctions.