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    Russia's Kudrin wants foreign-interest ceiling in banks at 50%

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    Russia's finance minister said Thursday a quota on foreign stakes in Russian banks could be set at 50% of their charter capital.

    MOSCOW, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's finance minister said Thursday a quota on foreign stakes in Russian banks could be set at 50% of their charter capital.

    The interest of non-residents in Russia's banks has become a major issue in Russia's negotiations to join the World Trade Organization as Moscow has resisted calls from the United States to provide broader access to its financial services market.

    "Taking into account our [accession] negotiations with the WTO, we should reserve Russia's right to set a certain quota," Alexei Kudrin said, adding that no quotas could undermine the independence of the country's banking sector.

    Kudrin said foreign stakes in Russian banks totaled 12.92% as of July 1, 2006, and that non-residents had interest in 144 Russian crediting organizations. He said 48 of the country's banks were 100% foreign-owned and 10 others had more than 50% of their stock in foreign hands.

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