Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kasyanov: Russia Has No Real Banks

LONDON — Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Tuesday that Russia’s banking sector was still very weak because of a low level of capitalization, and that it did not have any genuine banks.

"We are talking about financial companies or financial departments of big financial groups that suit the interests of those borrowers they can afford to control," he told the Confederation of British Industry, adding that current legislation did not offer enough protection to create a reliable mortgage system.

"Here a creditor knows in the worst of cases he can avail himself of that mortgage but this system is not working [in Russia]."

Kasyanov said he planned to introduce structural reforms and create a more competitive environment for inward investors, and that natural monopolies would be reformed and a commodities market set up.

"Russia does not yet have a civilized market for these commodities as exists in London — on exchanges," he said.

On Monday, Kasyanov met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss Russian macro-economics and politics, but the talks kept well clear of Europe’s ongoing fuel crisis — which saw Britain grind to a virtual halt last week and Blair call for pressure on the world’s big oil producers, which include Russia, to bring down crude oil prices.

Kasyanov told reporters upon his arrival at Heathrow Airport that Russia was ready to coordinate its efforts with those of Britain in easing the oil crisis.

After meeting with Blair, Kasyanov held talks with British investors, telling them that modernizing Russia’s economy will take billions of investment dollars and up to 10 years.

Kasyanov was due to meet British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown later on Tuesday, and then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers on Wednesday before heading home.

(Reuters, AP, MT)