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U.S. warns financial institutions to be on watch for Russian sanctions evasion -Breaking

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© Reuters. View of the Russia Central Bank Headquarters in Moscow, Russia on February 22, 2018, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

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WASHINGTON (Reuters), – Monday’s warning by the United States to financial institutions was in light of Russian sanctions evasion threats following a series of Washington sanctions against Russia for its invasion and occupation of Ukraine.

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), issued a Monday alert urging financial institutions to remain vigilant. It also provided examples of red flags it claimed would assist in identifying sanctions evasion activities, such as the use of shell corporations.

He Das, FinCEN’s Acting Director, stated in a statement that Russia faces increasing economic pressure.

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, many rounds have been imposed sanctions against the United States. These include the targeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin, major lenders, and oligarchs. Moscow called the attack a “special operations.”

FinCEN warned Monday in an advisory that targets Russian and Belarusian actors could seek to dodge sanctions. This alert stated that the activities can be carried out by a number of actors including administrators or convertible virtual currency changers.

Alert also mentioned possible ransomware attacks.

FinCEN urged financial institutions to quickly report any suspicious activity in relation to sanctions evasion and to conduct customer risk assessment.

Das stated that although we haven’t seen widespread evasion using crypto-currency methods to enforce our sanctions, timely reporting suspicious activity helps to protect our national security as well as our efforts to help Ukraine and its people.

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