Updated 6:12 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) could have opened dozens of cases against Western companies, but decided not to in order to avoid confrontation, FAS chief Igor Artemyev said Tuesday.
"We could have launched dozens of cases," he said. "But the Russian government's stance is to avoid using these mechanisms, at least at this stage, to prevent the ties from worsening," he said.
Artemyev named international financial services corporations Visa and Mastercard as examples. It "would not be a problem" to initiate proceedings in this case, "but our government has demonstrated tolerance here," the FAS chief said.
If a monopoly refuses to perform its duties due to political reasons, it could be called a misuse, according to Artemyev.
"What are the risks of unilateral sanctions? A company that dominates the Russian market is subject to antimonopoly legislation. And if a company can produce a product, bound by a treaty, but then refuses to deliver it - that is, of course, an abuse of its dominant position, which can result in turnover-based fines. Actually, we can apply such fines quite easily," the FAS chief stressed.
In March, Visa and MasterCard stopped servicing cards from some Russian banks as part of the United States' and the European Union's sanctions against Russia. Responding to the move Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in May establishing a national payment system.