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OFAC sanctions facilitators of Russian sanctions evasion

Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury OFAC OFAC Designations OFAC Sanctions Russia Ukraine Ukraine Invasion Department of State SDN List

Financial Crimes

On April 20, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 14024 against several entities and numerous individuals for attempting to evade sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its international partners on Russia. Included in the designations are a Russian commercial bank, a global network comprised of more than 40 individuals and entities led by a previously designated Russian oligarch (“including organizations whose primary mission is to facilitate sanctions evasion for Russian entities”), and several companies operating in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry. According to OFAC, this is the first time a virtual currency mining company has been sanctioned. In coordination with OFAC’s sanctions, the Department of State took further action by imposing visa restrictions on 635 Russian nationals and three Russian Federation officials for their involvement in human rights abuses, as well as 17 individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Belarus.

As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned entities in the U.S. are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Additionally, “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.” OFAC noted that U.S. persons are prohibited from participating in transactions with the sanctioned persons unless authorized by a general or specific license.

On the same day, OFAC issued new frequently asked question guidance clarifying obligations for credit card operators with regard to payment cards issued by sanctioned Russian financial institutions. OFAC also published two Russia-related general licenses: (i) General License 28 authorizes certain transactions involving a public joint stock company that are “ultimately destined for or originating from Afghanistan”; and (ii) General License 29 authorizes the wind down of transactions involving the same public joint stock company.

Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine here.

 

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