VTB, one of the leading universal banks of Russia, issued a statement this week in response to allegations by a group of U.S. senators that it is holding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's personal accounts, stating that the bank has no business with Assad or the Syrian leadership
"VTB takes client confidentiality extremely seriously, and would normally never comment on any allegations of this sort," the bank said said. "However, given the defamatory and highly public nature of these claims, and their relevance to an extremely delicate geopolitical situation, we feel we have no other option but to state that the allegations made by the four U.S. senators are completely unfounded.
"VTB does not hold funds belonging to President Assad or any other member of the Syrian leadership. We consider these allegations to be a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people. These irresponsible insinuations are clearly intended to ratchet up tensions around Syria's economic and financial situation, and to derail the recently launched peace process at any cost."
The senators urged the Obama administration to freeze the assets of VTB and two other majorRussian banks, ban their activities in the U.S. and deny employees' entry into the country.