New US Sanctions for Russian Bank, Oligarchs, Cryptominer BitRiver

The US Treasury building is seen in Washington, Sept. 29, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on dozens of people and entities, including a Russian commercial bank and a virtual currency mining company, in hopes of Moscow evading existing sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. to grab.

The US Treasury Department said it has designated a virtual currency mining company for the first time, along with more than 40 people and entities led by US-designated Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev.

“Treasury can and will target those who are evading, trying to evade or helping to evade US sanctions against Russia as they help support Putin’s brutal electoral war,” Treasury Secretary Brian Nelson said in a statement. a statement.

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The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The United States and its allies have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, including against the country’s biggest backers and Putin himself.

Wednesday’s move will target Russia’s virtual currency mining industry, reportedly the third largest in the world, and ratify the holding company of Moscow-based bitcoin miner BitRiver, which operates data center in Siberia, and 10 of its Russian counterparts. established subsidiaries of the holding company.

The Ministry of Finance has also imposed sanctions on the Russian commercial bank Transcapitalbank, whose representatives it says serve several banks in Asia, including China, and the Middle East, and has proposed options to circumvent international sanctions.

Its subsidiary, Investtradebank, was also designated.

Wednesday’s action freezes all U.S. assets of the designated individuals and generally prohibits Americans from doing business with them.

But Washington, in addition to the sanctions, has issued two general licenses related to Transcapitalbank, allowing the settlement of transactions with the bank until May 20 and certain transactions destined for or originating in Afghanistan until October 20 “in support of efforts to humanitarian crisis” were allowed.

The United States has also imposed additional sanctions on Russian oligarch Malofeyev, who has long been accused by US authorities of being one of the main sources of funding for Russians promoting separatism in Crimea. He was first designated under the Obama administration in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

Earlier this month, the US Justice Department indicted Malofeyev for violating sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. read more

“The United States will do everything it can to ensure that the sanctions we have imposed, in close cooperation with our international partners, reduce the Kremlin’s ability to project power and fund its invasion,” Nelson said.

The US State Department is also imposing visa restrictions on more than 600 people in an effort to further accountability for human rights abuses and violations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, banning them from traveling to the United States. .

Three Russian officials also faced visa restrictions for “gross violations of human rights”, along with 17 others with restrictions on charges of undermining democracy in Belarus.

“We will use every instrument to promote accountability for human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine,” Blinken said.

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Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Chris Gallagher, Doina Chiacu, David Brunnstrom, Andrea Shalal and Alexandra Alper; Edit and Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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