US To Impose Sanctions On Russia’s Lower House, Block Gold-Related Transactions With Central Bank

The US is pushing up the ante on its sanctions against Russia related to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine. In a communique released today by the US Treasury, the department said its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating Moscow’s lower house, a key financial sector CEO, and 48 firms as “key enablers of the invasion.”

In addition, the department also issued new guidelines on the sanctions in place “to blunt the [Russian] Central Bank’s ability to deploy international reserves, including gold.”

“This guidance makes clear that any transaction involving gold related to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation is covered by existing sanctions,” said the department in its statement.

The prohibitions under Executive Order 14024 pertaining to the sanctions are made clear that any US person or financial institution is banned to conduct gold-related transactions with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. Prohibitions also extend to gold-related transactions “in which blocked persons have an interest.”

Chart: Russia's Growing Reserves 'War Chest' | Statista
Chart: Who Holds Russia's Central Bank Reserves? | Statista

The Treasury Department statement was released ahead of US President Joe Biden’s address before NATO today where he’s expected to make the announcement.

The G7 coalition and the European Union are also expected to follow suit in intensifying their sanctions on Russia in the latter’s attempt to evade the imposed prohibitions.

OFAC designated 328 members of Russian State Duma, the country’s lower house, and the institution itself “for their complicity in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war.”

“The Russian State Duma continues to support Putin’s invasion, stifle the free flow of information, and infringe on the basic rights of the citizens of Russia,” said US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “We call on those closest to Putin to cease and condemn this cold-blooded war.”

The department is also sanctioning around 48 Russian defense companies, including Tactical Missiles Corporation (known as KTRV), JSC NPO High Precision Systems, NPK Tekhmash OAO, and Joint Stock Company Russian Helicopters.

Sberbank of Russia CEO and Executive Chairman Herman Oskarovich Gref, said to be one of Putin’s close confidants, has also made the list. This follows after the Treasury “imposed correspondent and payable-through account restrictions on Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution” last month.

“Gref is being designated today for being or having been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of the [government of the Russian Federation],” the statement further read.

Information for this briefing was found via CNBC. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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