FinCEN Urges Firms To Help Thwart Russia Sanctions Evasion

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” href=””>Al Barbarino Law360 (March 7, 2022, 6:32 PM EST) — The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued an alert Monday urging financial institutions to report red flags about potential attempts from Russian entities to sidestep the sweeping sanctions levied against the country amid its military invasion of Ukraine, pointing to potential risks involving digital currencies and ransomware.

As the U.S. and its global allies roll out aggressive financial sanctions against Russia, the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network warned specifically that currently unsanctioned Russian banks or other institutions could use so-called convertible virtual currencies, which include cryptocurrencies, to try and evade the sanctions.

“In the face of mounting economic pressure on Russia, it is vitally important for U.S. financial institutions to be vigilant about potential Russian sanctions evasion, including by both state actors and oligarchs,” Him Das, FinCEN’s acting director, said in a statement.

The U.S. and its global allies have levied a growing list of sanctions to help isolate Russia from the global financial system, targeting the largest Russian financial institutions, the country’s central bank, and a range of additional entities, oligarchs and individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

FinCEN warned financial firms that exchange or serve as administrators of digital currencies to be on the lookout for transactions tied to convertible virtual currencies, or CVC, wallets that could be associated

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