A worker cleans the door of a branch of VTB Bank in Moscow July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
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European banks, contending with escalating U.S. fines for sanctions violations, will likely bow to fresh bans imposed by the U.S. on financing Russian companies as the risks of dealing with the nation mount.The U.S. Treasury on July 16 named Russian companies to be barred from accessing U.S. equity or debt markets for new financings with maturities beyond 90 days. Lenders elsewhere may follow the sanctions, according to two European banking officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. The U.S., locked in the worst standoff with Russia since the Cold War, is enacting tougher sanctions than the European Union to force Russia to end support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. French lenders Credit Agricole SA and Societe Generale, Germany's Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, and UniCredit SpA, Italy's largest lender, are among other financial institutions being investigated by U.S. authorities for alleged sanctions infringements.The U.S. said this week that Russia is supplying the rebels with weapons.France's largest bank will be barred from U.S. dollar-clearing operations for one year beginning Jan. 1 for its oil and gas commodity-finance business and 13 executives will be required to leave the company.
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