Alexander Shchetinin: Take your money out of Russian banks fast!

    Citibank Moscow closes customers' accounts without their knowledge

    Kyiv, November 26 (New Region, Kseniya Kirillova) – «What do Masha Gessen and I have in common? The fact that Mordor is equally vindictive upon us: all my bank accounts in Russia have been closed, – «New Region» news agency founder Alexander Shchetinin wrote on Facebook. – They didn't even try to wait a couple of days to observe the decencies.

    It all came out by accident. I presented my bank card for payment at a supermarket in Kiev, and it didn't work(but had been working without a fault for the previous seven years), I tried another card -- with the same result. «Just a minute,-- I said to the salesperson,-- I'll try to withdraw cash». I went to an ATM -- both cards' balance was zero!

    I called the bank right away. And they did tell me:«But you closed all accounts yourself, as far back as November, 13th. You wrote such a request».

    What a day they have chosen!

    I asked politely: «Where is my money? Where are my rubles, dollars, euros?». And they replied: «Money? Well... You can get your money if you apply to the Moscow office.». So they wanted me to come to Moscow. Aha!

    I kept my money in Citibank Moscow, a franchise of the international Citibank. I thought that its international brand and reputation provided at least some protection against Russian lawlessness (for many years I was a model customer of Citi). I'm glad I managed to save the essential part of my funds throughout summer and autumn. I won't say how I did that. 

    I open Google... It appears, exactly the same story happened to Masha Gessen (a Russian journalist, former director of the Russian Service for Radio Liberty,-- Ed.) in the very same Citibank. She sold her Moscow apartment, put the money into Citibank, and flew to New York. Upon arrival she discovered all her Citibank accounts had been shut down. And once again the bank officials told her:«Come to our Moscow branch if you want to have your money back». The situation was saved by a publication in The New York Times after which her money was transferred to the US by cheque.

    Since it's the only way that works, I'm sitting myself down to write a piece about Citibank and its connections with the «bloody kgb-gang». I'll smash them to smithereens!

    And to all those who are leaving Russia I very much recommend to urgently take all their money out of Russian banks, no matter the brand or name. I just happen to be an experienced «traveller», but you can find yourselves in quite a fix should you get stuck abroad with no money».

    Read original story in Russian HERE 


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