Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, SWIFT was not exactly front page news or an organisation with whom the general public would be well acquainted. That changed overnight with the imposition of sanctions.

The SWIFT ban in itself will not likely have the effect that US and EU leaders are hoping it will? This so-called ‘nuclear option’ will have little impact on the oligarchs but will have implications on everyday people such as private citizens and small businesses, says Dagan Osovlansky, chief product officer at ThetaRay.

He highlights the ThetaRay transaction monitoring/screening system enables banks and regulators to prevent violations of the economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

In particular, the firm’s AI-powered financial transaction monitoring technology protects banks and fintechs against financial crimes, while identifying sophisticated attempts to circumvent sanctions. The ensures that governments and financial institutions maintain smooth and uninterrupted correspondent banking activities

Moreover, the monitoring and screening solution empowers financial institutions and governments to identify both manual and cyber-automated attempts to violate these sanctions.

ThetaRay’s solution monitors global cross-border payments by analysing SWIFT traffic, risk indicators and client data to detect suspicious activities across complex, cross-border transaction paths –including the use of shell people and companies. It also screens transactions for financial activity by individuals who have been placed on sanctions lists.

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Dagan Osovlansky says that the technology enables unhindered flow of global payments by organisations and peoples while preventing money transfers by sanctioned totalitarian regimes and criminals.

Osovlansky concludes that the technology blocks only illegitimate sources instead of blocking entire countries and economies. And because it can safeguard transfer of funds to legitimate people, the ThetaRay solution is the answer for the West to ensure that sanctions on Russia have the desired effect.

Dagan Osovlansky, chief product officer at ThetaRay speaks with RBI editor Douglas Blakey