BEIJING (Sputnik) – Hong Kong commercial banks have been forced to impose strict restrictions on foreign companies, including Russian ones, in an effort to minimize risks to themselves amid Western economic sanctions, Russian Consul General to Hong Kong Alexander Kozlov told Sputnik.
“The main difficulty that has emerged in the last few years is the opening and maintenance of bank accounts. Not only our companies are facing this issue, but we are also aware of similar difficulties other countries have, and Hong Kong residents themselves… The vast majority of banks operating here are Western ones or have very close ties with the West. Commercial banks often apply the strictest restrictions in order to minimize their risks in terms of various sanctions regimes”, Kozlov said.
According to Kozlov, there are no legal barriers to the work of Russian companies in Hong Kong, whose favourable business environment, low taxes, and transparent judicial and legal system are attractive for Russian businesses.
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The statement comes after a publishment of a new bill targeting Russia with additional sanctions in February. The bill, reportedly called “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019” (DASKAA), targets multiple sectors of the Russian economy and imposes a ban on operations with Russian sovereign debt.
In addition to sovereign debt, the legislation targets Russia’s banking sector, LNG projects, IT, and shipbuilding, along with Russian politicians and businessmen.
The bill follows numerous rounds of US sanctions against Russia introduced since 2014 over different issues, accusing Moscow of interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs, as well as the American presidential election in 2016, alleged use of chemical weapons against Russian former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK city of Salisbury and over the Kerch Strait incident.