Russian bank, network hit with new US sanctions

Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., seen on June 3
Greg Nash

The Biden administration said Wednesday that it is imposing sanctions on a bank and a network of individuals and entities the U.S. says are helping Russia evade sanctions imposed in a response to its invasion of Ukraine.

The Treasury Department said that it is sanctioning a private Russian commercial bank, Transkapitalbank, as well as a network led by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev, alleging involvement in attempts to evade sanctions on Russia.

Additionally, the department announced that it is sanctioning Russian firm Bitriver and 10 of its Russian-based subsidiaries as part of an effort to target Russia’s cryptocurrency mining industry, which the agency said helps monetize Russian exports.

“Treasury can and will target those who evade, attempt to evade, or aid the evasion of U.S. sanctions against Russia, as they are helping support Putin’s brutal war of choice,” Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.

“The United States will work to ensure that the sanctions we have imposed, in close coordination with our international partners, degrade the Kremlin’s ability to project power and fund its invasion,” Nelson said.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan noted in a public appearance last week that the Biden administration was preparing sanctions to crack down on Russian sanctions evasion.

The U.S. has imposed a raft of sanctions on Russia since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Ukraine invasion in late February. They include sanctions on Russian banks, oligarchs, officials and their families. President Biden has also banned U.S. imports of Russian energy and signed legislation ending normal trade relations with Russia.

Treasury said Wednesday that Transkapitalbank has offered services to banks in Asia, particularly China and the Middle East, and “suggested options to evade international sanctions,” like using its internet-based banking system to conduct transactions as an alternative to the SWIFT international banking communications system.

Malofeyev, who had been sanctioned dating back to 2014 after Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, was recently charged by the Justice Department with conspiring to violate and violating U.S. sanctions.

Tags Biden Jake Sullivan Joe Biden Konstantin Malofeyev Russia sanctions Treasury Department Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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