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Treasury warns foreign banks against helping Russia evade sanctions

Referring to his message to foreign banks, he added: “You have to make sure that you not only make sure you monitor the flows of money to your financial institution, but you also have to help by helping the companies you support. You also don’t want them to provide material support to Russian oligarchs or Russian companies.”

Banks and financial institutions around the world are grappling with how to keep up with the waves of new sanctions against Russia.

Citigroup, the largest US bank in Russia, with about 3,000 employees there, has engaged in an “active dialogue” to sell its Russian consumer and commercial banking business to Jane Fraser, its CEO. told Bloomberg this month.

Citigroup reduced its exposure in Russia to $7.9 billion in March, from $9.8 billion at the end of last year. according to a declaration† “This arming of financial services is a very, very big problem,” Mrs Fraser said: at a conference this month. She said she expected global capital flows to fragment as nations developed new financial systems to avoid becoming overly dependent on Western companies.

Foreign banks with operations in the US can get caught between conflicting demands. In some cases, US sanctions have forced them to cut off old customers. Those who resisted this learned how serious the authorities could be in tracking down violators and levying hefty fines.

In 2019, for example, British bank Standard Chartered paid $1.1 billion to settle cases brought by the Department of Justice, the Treasury, the New York State Bank’s regulator and prosecutors over transactions it conducted for Cuba. , Syria, Iran and Sudan in violation of US sanctions. Two years earlier, Deutsche Bank paid $630 million after it was caught helping Russian investors smuggle $10 billion into Western financial centers. International giants HSBC and BNP Paribas have also paid billions over the past 10 years to resolve cases of sanctions violations.

Lananh Nguyen reporting contributed.

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