In an effort to put more pressure on Moscow, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday that threatens fines for financial institutions that assist Russia in evading sanctions, according to a statement from the White House.
Blacklisting Non-Russian Financial Institutions
According to the White House, the directive also provides Washington the authority to expand import prohibitions on specific Russian items, like seafood and diamonds.
Although Friday’s executive order highlights the “very real risks for foreign financial institutions, many of whom don’t seem to have gotten the message yet,” Edward Fishman, a Columbia University sanctions expert, said that Washington previously had the authority to blacklist non-Russian financial institutions.
The proceedings make it clear that the United States may pursue financial institutions engaged in transactions—including the sale of specific vital goods—on behalf of parties subject to U.S. sanctions or connected to Russia’s military industrial base.
According to a Treasury official, Washington has voiced its worries to nations worldwide. Washington is also requesting that financial institutions that might be aiding Russia in its purchases of military-industrial inputs be subjected to increased scrutiny.
According to the person, the new authority was not meant to imply that governments are aware of these transactions, nor was it aimed on any particular nation.
Fishman, who handled sanctions against Russia at the State Department under President Barack Obama, noted that while the order does not target any particular nation, the nations that have been most implicated in evasion and violations of U.S. sanctions are “obvious.” She gave China, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates as examples.
The move follows the Group of Seven nations’ announcement earlier this month of a phased-in ban on direct imports of Russian diamonds beginning on January 1 and a ban on indirect imports of Russian jewels beginning on March 1