Together with FC Otkritie, Sovcombank and Novikombank, they fell under new US sanctions with a ban on working through correspondent accounts in the United States.
The toughest sanctions – with a complete blocking of assets in the States – are provided for VTB.
“This will cut the most important artery of the Russian financial system. Following the imposition of these sanctions, assets held by U.S. financial institutions will be instantly frozen and inaccessible to the Kremlin,” OFAC, the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions arm, said in a release Thursday.
VTB is one of the largest banks ever to fall under blocking US sanctions. Its assets are estimated at 19.5 trillion rubles ($229 billion), and individual deposits at 5.1 trillion.
By taking action against the bank, the US is sending a „strong signal” that it intends to fulfill its promise to „cause serious damage” to the Russian economy.
Sberbank assets, unlike VTB, are not blocked. But the bank will also lose the opportunity to work through American correspondent accounts.
“Within 30 days, OFAC requires all US financial institutions to close all correspondent or through Sberbank accounts and reject any future transactions involving Sberbank or its subsidiaries of foreign financial institutions. Payments that Sberbank attempts to process in USD for its customers, ranging from technology to transportation, will be canceled or rejected once the payment reaches a US financial institution.