US asks banks to keep some ties with Russia – media reports
American bank Citigroup (Photo:instagram.com/citi/)
U.S. Treasury and State Department officials have called on lenders to continue offering basic services such as U.S. dollar settlement, payment transfers and trade finance offerings to Russian companies exempt from certain aspects of sanctions.
The companies include Russian gas giant Gazprom and fertilizer producers Uralkali PJSC and PhosAgro PJSC, the Bloomberg news agency reported on Nov. 7, with reference to people familiar with the situation.
It noted behind the scenes, the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have urged banking giants including JPMorgan and Citigroup to keep doing business with certain strategic Russian firms.
Representatives for Citigroup and JPMorgan declined to comment, Bloomberg said.
A U.S. Treasury Department spokesperson said the department has issued guidance to the banking industry to make sure that activities connected to humanitarian aid, energy and agriculture are authorized.
U.S. banks have been cautious, subjecting most business involving even non-sanctioned Russian clients to a complex and lengthy review process. That has driven the administration to encourage lenders to continue banking certain Russian companies as part of their efforts to avoid mass starvation across the planet.
“Food security for the world critically relies on these authorized transactions to continue,” said Ambassador Jim O’Brien, head of the State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination.
“We continue to clarify and also to reassure banks and others involved in agricultural trade that they are not part of the sanctions regime.”
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