The US Treasury announced fresh punitive measures Wednesday against Russia’s Transkapitalbank as well as a sprawling network around oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev which was allegedly used to evade sanctions.
The privately-owned Transkapitalbank was placed under blocking sanctions, which seek to prevent it from accessing global financial networks by forbidding US institutions and individuals, or others with US operations, from dealings with it.
The Treasury said the bank had set up its own internet-based financial transfer system and offered access to banks in China, the Middle East and elsewhere, to enable settlements of US dollar payments without involving the global SWIFT settlement system and avoiding payments transiting the US banking system.
Transkapitalbank’s system could allow other institutions and businesses to avoid US sanctions on Russia, which have deepened significantly since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24.
In addition, the Treasury blacklisted a network of some 40 individuals and entities led by Malofeyev that it said were used to facilitate sanctions evasion, and several Russian companies involved in virtual currency mining.
Malofeyev, the Treasury said, has long acted for the Russian government to support separatists in Ukraine and to covertly undermine democracy and stability in several countries.
“Treasury can and will target those who evade, attempt to evade, or aid the evasion of US sanctions against Russia, as they are helping support Putin’s brutal war of choice,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson.
In parallel, the US State Department placed visa bans on more than 650 people, mostly Russians but also Ukraine separatist actors and Belarusians.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the visa bans were “to promote accountability for human rights abuses and violations.”
“We will use every tool to promote accountability for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine,” Blinken said in a statement.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)