U.S. Department of Treasury won’t go after Kazakhstani banks over Mir


The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control doesn’t mind if individuals who left Russia for Kazakhstan are using Russian payment cards Mir in their daily life, according to the Agency for Regulating and Development of the Financial Market in Kazakhstan. 

«Kazakhstan’s commercial banks can accept any payments and money transfers by Mir card holders as well as let them withdraw money through ATMs,» the agency said.

OFAC noted that it will continue to keep an eye on transactions that are conducted through the Mir payment system to prevent Russia from evading Western sanctions. However, Kazakhstan’s banks can decide on their own whether or not they should work with Mir.

In September, several of Kazakhstan’s banks started to decline the Mir payment cards. This turn happened after two Turkish banks stopped working with the payment system. Spokespersons of both entities confirmed that the decision was driven by fear to become a target for secondary sanctions. According to Financial Times, the U.S. government brought pressure on Turkish banks in order to make them stop cooperating with Mir. The U.S. authorities have been concerned that this system might be used by Moscow to evade Western sanctions.

On September 22, four of Kazakhstan’s banks told Kursiv that they still accept Mir cards for payments and withdrawals, but none of them issue this card. According to the Mir system, these four banks are Halyk Bank, Bank CenterCredit, VTB and former Sberbank.

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