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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nemtsov Vows to Defend Jordan in 'Bankers' War'

First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov promised to defend the U.S. head of Russia's largest investment bank Wednesday, saying his visa problems were caused by Russia's "bankers' war" and would soon be settled.


Nemtsov said a group of bankers, challenging the government's intention to free big business of insider dealing, was behind the revocation of businessman Boris Jordan's visa.


Jordan, the Russian-born head of Russia's Renaissance Capital bank, representing substantial foreign funds, has been stranded in London after the Foreign Ministry canceled his visa Friday.


"This is all a continuation of the banking war, and I would add by unclean methods," Interfax quoted Nemtsov as saying.


Nemtsov, a reform-minded star in the Cabinet, said Jordan was an important example for foreign investors looking for fair treatment. "It is clear he must be given a visa, and I think this problem will be resolved soon," Nemtsov said.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Valery Nesterushkin said the decision to revoke the visa was related to Jordan's business.


"As I understand, the given decision was taken in relation to allegations by competent bodies against Mr. Jordan in connection with his business activity in the Russian Federation," he said.


He did not elaborate, but said Jordan could apply for and potentially receive a single-entry visa.


A spokesman for Jordan, who is head of Renaissance Capital and Bank MFK, which are merging to become Russia's largest domestic investment bank, said Jordan was told the delay was for technical reasons and expected to get a multiple-entry visa soon.


But Nemtsov put the stakes in larger terms, reflecting recent government announcements that it would fight opponents of fair competition in the economy.


"The position of the president is that the government makes the rules and the banks will live by those rules," Nemtsov said. "Those who do not live that way will have problems."


Prosecutors questioned former privatization chief and leading liberal Alfred Kokh on Wednesday over allegations he had performed favors for Uneximbank while in office. Moscow prosecutors aide Tatyana Markova said Kokh, who resigned from his post as head of the State Property Committee in August, appeared for questioning as requested.


An earlier statement by the prosecutor's office said it was investigating an advance paid to Kokh by an obscure Swiss firm for a book yet to be published.