Wikileaks: State Department Backroom Deals- Visa & Mastercard?
Wikileaks Cablegate: US State Department Lobbying On Behalf of Visa and Mastercard In Russia | Did Visa and Mastercard Supply Information To State Department?
As impromptu collections of hackers target and shut down Visa and Mastercard sites, the Wikileaks Cablegate site is releasing new information concerning the U.S. State Departments activitives in Russia.
The Wikileaks Cablegate release says the US state department was lobbying on behalf of Visa and Mastercard against possible financial legislation in Russia.
Russia was considering whether to implement a new system of card payments (called NPCS), which would create a new payment processor run by Russia’s state banks. This would then handle all processing for domestic banking in the country.
“The fees for these services are estimated at Rb 120 billion ($4 billion) annually...the vast majority of Visa’s business in Russia is done with cards issued and used in Russia; with earnings from processing going to NPCS, Visa would no longer profit from these transactions.”
Interesting but not surprising that a US government would lobby on behalf of American companies. However, there is more, apparently, Russia was worried about Visa and Mastercard passing on information to the US State Department.
When discussing possible causes of the restrictive legislation, a senior Visa employee in the country told embassy officials he believed the move was due to Russian suspicions that Visa and Mastercard passed information to the US government.
“[Redacted] believes that, at least at the Deputy Minister level, MinFin’s hands are tied. Implying that Russian security services were behind this decision, [redacted] said, ‘There is some se-cret (government) order that no one has seen, but everyone has to abide by it." “As described reftel, credit card company and bank representatives have told us that GOR (government of Russia) officials apparently assume that US payment systems routinely share data associated with payment transactions by Russian cardholders with intelligence services in the US and elsewhere.”
Exactly what that information that was allegedly passed on is unclear.
Pay Pal, Visa and Mastercard all removed the ability for user to donate to Wikiileaks via their payment systems.
In response, groups of hackers known as Anonymous successfully attacked Pay Pal, Visa and Mastercard - shutting down access to the Mastercard and Visa websites.