Bank of Lithuania cuts off payment infrastructure to Russia-linked payments
The Bank of Lithuania has initiated the disconnection of four companies with links to Russia from its payment system CENTROlink and urges other indirect participants of this system not to execute euro payments of customers with links to Russia through CENTROlink.
The decision was made by the country’s central bank in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, international sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and other countries and to prevent any circumvention attempts.
All financial market participants connected to CENTROlink through the Bank of Lithuania were advised to stop providing payment services via CENTROlink to companies registered in Russia, its citizens residing in Russia and companies in which its citizens residing in Russia have the qualifying holding in the authorised capital and/or voting rights. The Bank of Lithuania points out that financial market participants are advised to contact the Bank of Lithuania for clarification in case of any questions or doubts about individual cases or circumstances.
Currently, payments made by Lithuanian companies and individuals to entities with links to Russia account for around 1% of the total value of payments made.
In view of recent developments, the Bank of Lithuania has reassessed the existing users of the system and has begun the process of disconnecting four companies whose ultimate beneficial owners are related to Russia from CENTROlink. These companies will no longer be able to make payments in the single euro payments area (SEPA) through CENTROlink.
The Bank of Lithuania provides access to SEPA to licensed financial market participants through its payment system CENTROlink enabling them to make instant payments 7/24/365. Currently, 150 payment service providers from 18 countries of the European Economic Area use CENTROlink services. In 2021, a total of 186 million (95 million in 2020) SEPA payments worth €358 billion (€170 billion in 2020) were made through the CENTROlink system.