Russo-Ukraine War: US, Allies Remove Russian Banks From SWIFT

Washington: The United States (US) and its allies on Saturday (local time) announced the removal of Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We are committed to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally The leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom (UK), Canada and the United States (US) said in a joint statement.

“We are committed to implementing restrictive measures that will prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in a way that minimizes the impact of our sanctions,” read the statement.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Allies would prevent Russia from “using its war chest” by crippling its central bank assets. They also agreed to freeze its transactions and prevent the central bank from liquidating its assets.

He said the so-called “golden passport” would be processed to “let wealthy Russians affiliated with the Russian government become citizens of our countries and have access to our financial systems”.

The president of the European Commission said, “We are committed to ensuring that a certain number of Russian banks are removed from SWIFT. We will cripple the assets of Russia’s central bank. This will freeze its transactions.”

SWIFT is the acronym for Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The Belgium-based cooperative is used by thousands of financial institutions in more than 200 countries, including Russia, and provides a secure messaging system to facilitate cross-border money transfers.

The statement said the leaders are committed to taking action against individuals and entities that facilitate the war in Ukraine and the harmful activities of the Russian government.

“In particular, we are committed to taking steps to limit the sale of citizenship – the so-called golden passport – which allows wealthy Russians affiliated with the Russian government to become citizens of our countries and access our financial systems,” the statement said. Let’s get it.”

The leaders said in the statement that they are committed to launching a transatlantic task force this week that will ensure the effective implementation of their financial sanctions by identifying and freezing the assets of approved individuals and companies in their jurisdiction.

“As part of this effort, we will impose sanctions and other financial and enforcement measures on additional Russian officials and elite close to the Russian government, as well as their families, and their supporters to identify and freeze the assets they hold.” We will also engage other governments and work to detect and circumvent unfairly acquired benefits and allow these individuals to continue their activities in jurisdictions around the world,” the statement said. Deprive them of the ability to hide assets.

The leaders reiterated their support for the Ukrainian people in this “dark time”.

The Joe Biden administration has already approved five Russian banks, including Sberbank and VTB Group, which collectively account for nearly half of the country’s banking assets. At the beginning of the year Russia had over 360 licensed banks.

Targeting the central bank could complicate the enactment of monetary policy, removing a potential source of cash for the US government.


First published:February 27, 2022, 7:14 am

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