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Navigating uncertainties of the OFAC sanctions against Russia

May 22, 2022
By: Stephanie Jennings

A trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway is on my bucket list. I dream of traveling from Moscow, through Mongolia and ending in Beijing to see a part of the world that has always seemed so far away. The route takes you through 4,721 miles of Siberia, the Russian province in the tundra that includes most of northern Asia. I envision beautiful snow-covered acres leading to rolling grasslands on the way to the northern desert terrain of Mongolia, and ultimately Beijing, an intriguing hybrid of modern and ancient cultures.

The recent sanctions issued by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designating more than 400 Russian financial institutions, elites, members and other entities under the program are making me think differently about such an itinerary now, just as many U.S financial institutions are evaluating how the sanctions impact operations and the ability to overall engage with Russia.

Many financial institutions are in limbo and wondering if it’s okay to send funds transfers and other transactions to Russian entities in order to provide funds for healthcare needs, to continue economic support for Russian businesses or even whether U.S. residents can send much-needed money to family members living in Russia.

The OFAC designations were changing and newly added, almost daily, in March and April. The U.S Treasury encourages U.S. financial institutions to contact OFAC about any questionable transactions prior to sending or accepting funds from Russia. OFAC has a toll-free “hotline” and online contact form for U.S financial institutions to easily reach out and verify if a particular sender or beneficiary has been designated on the sanctions list.

Do you have questions or concerns related to the recent OFAC sanctions? Wipfli can help you navigate the sanctions and understand any risks associated with your products and services. Learn more and connect with a Wipfli consultant.

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Stephanie Jennings, CRCM, CCBTO
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