The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced Wednesday (March 16) that it will be supporting the Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs (REPO) Task Force, which is trying to crack down on illicit actors accessing international finance.
FinCen will be supporting the Treasury’s efforts on boosting cooperation and intelligence sharing, agreeing to increase information sharing with relevant authorities in various places.
In addition, FinCEN will be issuing an alert highlighting how important it is for banks to quickly report suspicious transactions from sanctioned Russian elites and various proxies, in categories such as real estate, luxury goods and high-value assets.
“Financial intelligence is fundamental to U.S. bilateral and multilateral efforts to trace, freeze, and seize the corrupt gains of Russian elites and their enablers,” said FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das.
“It is critical that financial institutions increase their awareness of indicators of potential Russian sanctions evasion and that governments work together to collect and share information in this rapidly evolving crisis,” Das continued. “We appreciate the collaboration of our financial institution and government partners in this effort.”
Russia — and several wealthy individuals and companies from there — have been facing numerous sanctions since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in late February. Some worries over the sanctions include that many wealthy people might use digital assets to get around them and do finance activities anyway.
PYMNTS wrote that a crypto forensics firm recently found information on a digital wallet that might be linked to Russian oligarchs and others currently sanctioned.
The report said the wallet had “significant” crypto-asset holdings, per Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, the forensics company.
Ukrainians and ordinary Russians, however, have been using crypto due to the war’s disruption of both countries’ banking and payment sectors. Ukraine has also gotten millions in crypto donations to help it in the war effort.