Israeli Banks Ordered to Comply With Sanctions Against Russia

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Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug.Credit: Emil Salman

Israeli banks have been instructed by the Bank of Israel to adhere to the sanctions on Russia imposed last year by the United States and European Union, according to Globes.

The banks were requested to establish policies and rules for working with companies and banks in Russia in a recent letter from the Bank of Israel's Banking Supervision Department. The letter reportedly followed discussions at various political levels.

"There are international sanctions against certain parties and businesses in Russia," the central bank wrote in its letter. "The sanctions regimes are complicated, with different consequences."

"Since it is possible that the sanctions will also apply to other banks and financial institutions, you are hereby required to keep informed, and obtain legal advice about it."

The banks are required to scan their credit portfolios in order to check whether they are working with parties subject to sanctions. They are also required to establish rules for identifying and avoiding new transactions with parties subject to sanctions, and to define work procedures vis-a-vis the relevant parties.

The banks are allowed to refuse to carry out new transactions or discontinue existing agreements with parties subject to sanctions, which "will be considered a reasonable refusal to provide a service under the Banking Law," the letter states.

Sanctions were imposed on Russia following the crisis with Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimea to Russia. They prevent U.S. citizens from investing in the Crimean peninsula or conducting trade relations with people or companies in the area.

Assets in the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. that belong to people or companies operating in the Crimean peninsula have been frozen.

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