“We monitor your transactions”. This is the warning issued by the United States to Russian oligarchs and companies after observing an acceleration of their efforts to circumvent sanctions.
Taking advantage of Moscow’s weak capital controls, Russian billionaires are indeed trying to hide their wealth and their transfers of funds to escape the draconian measures imposed by the West for the invasion of Ukraine.
“We are seeing money transfers for the benefit of third parties and the creation of phantom companies. We are following these operations closely,” says a US administration official with the Financial Times, adding that Russian banks and companies are now adopting the same tactics used by the oligarchs for years to cover their tracks and their transactions. Under the American lens there are not the sanctioned oligarchs but also those who have not been directly affected by the sanctions, as well as those who offer “material support” to circumvent the costs imposed for the war.
And it is precisely the facilitators of evasion that could become the object of the next round of sanctions. The United States and allies are in fact working on a new package of measures that should also include sanctions to destroy the supply chains needed to provide Russia with the “tools of war”, explains US Deputy Treasury Minister Wally Adeyemo. on a tour of the European capitals. For new sanctions “we are evaluating additional sectors essential to the Kremlin to operate its war machine”, explains Adeyemo. “in addition to the lack of concern for human lives in Ukraine, the Kremlin has shown – observes Adeyemo – that it ignores the pain and suffering that its invasion will cause to those who do not have access to food and other agricultural products”.
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