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US authorizes Russian bank transactions for energy payments amid sanctions

The US Treasury has temporarily authorized transactions with several major Russian banks for energy-related payments, according to a recent license by the US Treasury
The US Treasury Department building in Washington, DC. Credit: Bloomberg
US authorizes Russian bank transactions for energy payments amid sanctions

The US Treasury has permitted transactions with Russian banks, including VTB, the Central Bank, Sberbank, and Alfa-Bank, for energy-related payments.

According to a US Treasury license, the permission lasts until 1 November 2024, with the possibility of an extension after that date.

Financial Times reported on 29 April that the largest Western banks remaining in Russia after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine paid the Kremlin over $ 854 million in taxes in 2023. It’s four times more than in the pre-war period.

The US Treasury license names other banks granted temporary authorization, such as Otkritie, Sovcombank, Rosbank, VEB.RF, Bank Zenit, and Bank Saint Petersburg.

The license also allows transactions with Russian banks “related to the production, supply, or exchange of energy in any way,” the decree states.

The US Treasury Directive is a clarification and explanation of which transactions are “exceptional,” not subject to sanctions, and require approval in accordance with the protocols set out in the Directive. The relevant transaction authorization has been extended several times in the past.

FT reported that seven top European lenders by Russian assets – Raiffeisen Bank International, UniCredit, ING, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, and OTP – reported combined profits exceeding $3,2 billion in 2023, triple the amount from 2021.

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