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May 16, 2022

US warns international lenders against helping Russia circumvent sanctions

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict

The US administration has warned international banks not to aid Russia in circumventing sanctions or they could be subject to sanctions themselves.

Last week, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo met with representatives of several financial institutions and discussed the sanctions imposed on Russian after it invaded Ukraine.

During the meeting, Adeyemo underscored the importance of the Treasury’s focus on preventing evasion of sanctions.

The official also “conveyed the risks of facilitating sanctions evasion”, which includes the “risk of sanctions exposure for providing material support to a sanctioned entity”.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) expects all financial institutions to conduct their due diligence to make sure they are not transacting with a sanctioned client.

The meeting, which was hosted by the Institute of International Bankers, was joined by the financial institutions from Ireland, Japan, Canada, China, and Brazil.

The US and its allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions on the Russian financial system. They are also coordinating to prevent the circumvention of sanctions

Speaking to the New York Times, Adeyemo said: “If you provide material support to a sanctioned individual or a sanctioned entity, we can extend our sanctions regime to you and use our tools to go after you as well.”

“I want to make that very clear to these institutions that are domiciled and other countries that may not have taken sanctions actions: that the United States and our allies and partners are prepared to act if they do things that violate our sanctions.”

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