Swift has reacted strongly to a European Parliament resolution which has called on EU member states to consider excluding Russia from its financial transaction system.

By being “explicitly mentioned” in the European Parliament resolution, passed on September 18, “of this kind on such an international sensitive matter” Swift believes that it “creates immense damage” to the company’s reputation.

Swift’s response to being “singled out” in the non-binding resolution reads: “Under fundamental principles of European law, enshrined in the EU charter of fundamental rights, the singling out of Swift in this manner interferes disproportionately with Swift’s fundamental right to conduct business and its right to property. It also constitutes discriminatory and unequal treatment.”

The extract Swift is directly referring to comes from the European Parliament resolution on the situation in Ukraine and the state of play of EU – Russia relations, which states: “Calls for the EU to consider excluding Russia from…the Swift system.”

The UK government is thought to be pressing for Russian banks to be blocked from accessing Swift’s banking transaction system.

Swift has made restrictions on financial institutions before, when the network took the action of expelling Iranian banks in 2012. At the time, Swift said that it had been “instructed to discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions”.
However, addressing the topic of Russia banks, Swift says: “Our mission remains to be a global and neutral service provider to the financial industry. The provision of financial messaging services to Russian entities is not affected by the current measures in force.”

Over 600 Russian banks are currently connected to Swift.