The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by unveiling a slew of new sanctions against financial services firms and individuals that either support Russia’s war effort or have been judged to be undermining existing U.S. sanctions.
OFAC on Friday announced new sanctions against 22 individuals and 83 entities, taken in coordination with its allies and G7 partners.
“Sanctioned actors have been known to turn to smaller banks as well as wealth management firms in an attempt to evade sanctions as Russia seeks new ways to access the international financial system,” the agency stated in a press release.
The United States and its allies have already sanctioned more than 80 percent of the Russian banking sector, OFAC said, a list that now includes Credit Bank of Moscow as a fully blocked entity. Credit Bank of Moscow is one of Russia’s top 10 largest banks by asset size.
Also added to the U.S. sanctions list were regional banks, including Lanta Bank (Moscow); Metallinvestbank (Moscow); MTS Bank (Moscow and the United Arab Emirates); Novosibirsk Social Commercial Bank Levoberezhny (Novosibirsk, Russia); Bank Saint-Petersburg; Bank Primorye (Vladivostok, Russia); SDM-Bank (Moscow); Ural Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Yekaterinburg, Russia); Bank Uralsib (Moscow); and Bank Zenit (Moscow).
The United Kingdom and Canada also sanctioned some of the aforementioned banks Friday or had already done so, OFAC said.
Russian oligarchs thought to be involved in money laundering were also sanctioned, as well as entities associated with them.
Separately, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges in two cases related to evasion of U.S. sanctions against Russia. In the first case, the DOJ said it seized $75 million worth of six U.S. luxury properties owned by oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who was sanctioned in 2018. The complaint alleged the properties were the proceeds of “sanctions violations and were involved in international money laundering,” according to a press release.
In the second case, unsealed Friday, Russian national Ilya Balakaev was charged with various offenses related to a “yearslong scheme to illegally smuggle sensitive devices used in counterintelligence operations from the United States to Russia for the benefit of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the principal intelligence and security agency of the Russian government,” according to a press release issued by the DOJ’s Task Force KleptoCapture.
The OFAC restrictions further targeted wealth management firms based in Russia or that serve wealthy Russian individuals who are attempting to evade U.S. sanctions, according to OFAC. Among those firms sanctioned were Russian family office Confideri Pte, as well as its Russian-Israeli founders and an affiliated office located in Austria, and Moscow-based investment and wealth management firm IC Veles Capital, its Russian-Cypriot owners, its Russian affiliates, and other affiliates located in Cyprus.
OFAC also designated individuals and companies in Germany, Switzerland, Malta, and Bulgaria for helping Russia evade sanctions and “procure resources critical to enabling” its war efforts, the press release said.
New sanctions were announced against companies involved in the Russian defense, aerospace, technology, and electronics sectors.
Also marking the invasion anniversary, the Bureau of Industry and Security at the Department of Commerce announced new export control restrictions against Iran and the designation of 86 entities, including a handful in China, to its entity list related to activities in support of the war. The Financial Action Task Force announced it suspended the membership of the Russian Federation from the intergovernmental organization.
On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a speech the United States was “planning to launch a renewed effort to rigorously enforce the sanctions and export controls we’ve already put in place” and combat sanctions evasion attempts.
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