The US administration wanted to corner Russia by imposing unprecedented sanctions on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. However, the country did not get very effective results in this regard. Conversely, the Biden administration is privately urging leading U.S. banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to continue doing business with strategic Russian firms despite sanctions imposed on Moscow.

Bloomberg reports that the Treasury and State departments made the request as the US government tries to keep pressure on Russia. Again, at the same time they are trying to avoid a global economic disaster.

Washington is asking for exemptions from certain sanctions on US dollar settlements, payment transfers and Russian companies including gas giant Gazprom and fertilizer producers Uralkali and FosAgro, sources close to the matter said.

As a result, the largest American banks are now caught in the bitter-sweet relationship between the Biden administration and Congress. Because they were the ones who insisted on tough measures against Moscow. The sanctions prevent US banks from providing services to blacklisted entities and people, with multibillion-dollar fines for violating the sanctions.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of investment bank JPMorgan Chase, was asked at a congressional hearing in September. Because his company was accused of exploiting sanctions loopholes to continue working with Russia. In response, the banker said, ‘We are following the instructions of the American government because they told us to do so.’

A spokesman for the US Treasury told Bloomberg that the guidelines were issued to banks subject to approval of humanitarian aid, energy and agricultural operations. However, JP Morgan and Citigroup declined to comment.

Attorney Nedinma Ifudu, an expert on US economic sanctions, told Way, ‘Congress needs to understand that the US government has not imposed comprehensive sanctions on Russia. This includes authorization to do retail business. Meetings will continue to educate banks on those pockets of Treasury approved transactions, particularly in the humanitarian space.

(8 November)