US Targets Iranian Banking Outpost In Moscow

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A review of the US designation of Asia Bank provides insight on financial sector exposure to Russia-based Iran risk, particularly with respect to Iran’s demand for foreign currency.

On August 29, 2014, the US government sanctioned Iranian-owned Asia Bank for providing financial services to the Central Bank of Iran. Asia Bank, formerly known as Chemeximbank, is based in Moscow. The designation of Asia Bank marks the first time that the US has sanctioned a Russia-based financial institution under Executive Order 13622 –– which prohibits certain financial dealings with Iran.

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Social Media & Illicit Finance: A Look at the Conflict in Syria

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Financial facilitators are increasing their use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to raise funds for designated terrorist organizations and other militant groups operating in conflict zones. Financial institutions should consider whether their financial intelligence and analytical capabilities are fashioned to effectively monitor social media for data relevant to AML/CFT risk management.

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Crimea Sanctions Highlight Compliance Risk in Russian Energy Sector

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On May 12, 2014, the European Union added two Crimea-based energy firms to its Russia sanctions list: Chernomorneftegaz and Feodosia Enterprise (aka Feodosia Oil Product Supply Company or “Feodosia”). The sanctions were levied in response to the expropriation of the companies by the separatist Crimean government in March 2014. To date, the United States and Canada have sanctioned Chernomorneftegaz, but not Feodosia.

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U.S. Targets Russian Bank with Syria Sanctions Authorities

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On May 8, the US government designated Moscow-based Tempbank and its chairman Mikhail Gagloev for providing support to the Syrian government. Tempbank is the first designation of a Russian entity for activities related to Syria — suggesting a widening of options the US and other governments may be willing to use in policy disputes with Russia. The Russian government openly backs the Assad government and provides significant financial, military, and commercial support.

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