Russian lawmakers give green light to alternative Swift system
Russia has backed the global use of its own alternative to financial messaging network Swift to avoid the risk of Western sanctions, reports Jane Connolly.
Reuters reports that earlier this week, the lower house of the Russian parliament (the Duma) approved a bill proposed by Anatoly Aksakov, who heads the Russian Banking Association, in the first reading.
The bill will need to pass two more readings with the Duma and get the support of President Vladimir Putin to become law.
Aksakov says that Russia has held talks about joint use of Russia’s financial messaging system – an alternative to the Belgium-based Swift system – with China, India, Iran and Turkey.
Russia started developing the substitute system for making high-value, cross-border financial transfers in 2014, prompted by fears that the West would impose financial sanctions in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Iran was cut off from the network in 2012, resulting in the country’s oil exports plunging from 2.5 million barrels per day in 2011 to around one million by 2014.
Swift took the decision to disconnect some Iranian banks again last November, “in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system”.
Last year, analysts expressed doubts about the credibility of Russia’s Swift substitute solution, but Aksakov told the Duma that more than 400 companies, mostly Russian, had joined the alternative system.