Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided four Turkish bank branches in Russia on Thursday, on suspicion of money laundering, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News newspaper reported Friday citing anonymous sources.
The inspectors did not find anything illegal during the investigations, sources told the newspaper.
“The aim is to disturb Turkish banks and businessmen,” said one banking source. “By using money laundering claims, Russian authorities create trouble for these banks.”
In addition, 20 Russian banks have been searched on suspicion of shady money-transfers on behalf of Turkish businessmen, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
There are five Turkish banks operating in Russia - state-run Ziraat Bank and four private banks — Garanti Bank, Is Bank, Fiba Bank and Yapi Kredi, Haurriyets Daily News said.
Ziraat Bank's Moscow office confirmed the FSB raid to the RNS news agency Friday. No documents or office equipment have been seized by security officers and the bank continued its operations after the raid, RNS reported.
Russia introduced a package of sanctions against Turkey last month after Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian fighter-bomber near the Syrian border on Nov. 24. The measures include the ban on charter flights to Turkey from Dec.1 and the suspension of visa-free travel regime with Turkey from Jan.1, 2016.
Russia prohibited, as well, the imports of many Turkish food products including fruits, vegetables, poultry and salt and imposed a ban on hiring Turkish nationals.