Frequently Asked Questions

Except as authorized under General License (GL) 9A (see FAQ 981), U.S. persons may not buy or sell debt or equity of the Russian financial institutions blocked in February 2022 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024.  Accordingly, a U.S. fund may not buy, sell, or otherwise engage in transactions related to debt or equity of the blocked Russian financial institutions and must block such holdings, unless exempt, authorized under GL 9A or separately authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  However, a U.S. fund that contains such blocked holdings generally is not itself considered a blocked entity as long as the blocked holdings represent less than a predominant share by value of debt or equity of blocked persons.  As a result, U.S. persons may continue to invest in the fund and the fund may continue to operate.  The fund may divest itself of blocked holdings as authorized under GL 9A or separately authorized by OFAC.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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General License (GL) 9A authorizes U.S. persons, until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time May 25, 2022, to engage in transactions prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to dealings in debt or equity issued prior to February 24, 2022 of one or more of the following entities (“covered debt or equity”), provided that any divestment or transfer of, or facilitation of divestment or transfer of, covered debt or equity must be to a non-U.S. person:

  • State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB);
  • Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie; 
  • Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company;
  • Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia;
  • VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company;
  • Any entity owned 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one of the above entities.

This authorization includes the facilitation, clearing, and settling of transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to divest covered debt or equity to a non-U.S. person, including on behalf of U.S. persons.  Also, as part of a divestment transaction to a non-U.S. person, U.S. persons may engage in purchases of or investment in covered debt or equity if ordinarily incident and necessary to buy to cover a short position in such holdings.

To allow the closing of trades initiated before February 24, 2022, paragraph (b) of GL 9A authorizes all transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to facilitating, clearing, and settling trades of covered debt or equity through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time May 25, 2022, provided such trades were placed prior to 4:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 24, 2022, including debits to accounts on the books of U.S. financial institutions of certain blocked entities.  

GL 9A also authorizes U.S. persons to receive interest, dividend, or maturity payments on debt or equity of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 25, 2022.  After May 25, 2022, U.S. persons would require a specific license to continue to receive such payments.  

Certain transactions otherwise prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587, are not authorized by GL 9A.  Please see GL 9A for additional details.  Please also see GL 10A with respect to authorizations related to certain derivative contracts. 

For purposes of assessing whether certain transactions are authorized under GL 9A or GL 10A, U.S. persons—including financial institutions, registered broker-dealers in securities, securities exchanges, and other market intermediaries and participants—may rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business, including reasonable reliance on information about the underlying transaction provided by the parties thereto.  However, U.S. persons should also exercise caution in engaging in foreign exchange transactions on the Moscow Exchange given the current heightened risk that the Central Bank of the Russia Federation could be a counterparty to such transactions (see FAQ 1002). 

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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On February 22, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated specified Russian financial institutions pursuant to E.O. 14024 , including the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB), Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company, and many of their subsidiaries.  OFAC designated additional Russian financial institutions on February 24, 2022, including VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie (Otkritie), Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company (Sovcombank), Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank, and many of these financial institutions’ subsidiaries.  As a result, all property and interests in property of these entities in the possession or control of U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, or within U.S. jurisdiction, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, all property and interests in property of any entity that is owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  Accordingly, U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, are prohibited from transacting with these entities unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.  

OFAC issued several Russia-related general licenses (GLs) authorizing transactions involving specified blocked Russian financial institutions, including:
•    GL 2 : authorizing certain transactions involving VEB related to servicing obligations of certain Russian sovereign debt; 
•    GL  3: authorizing the wind down of certain transactions involving VEB until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 24, 2022;
•    GL  11: authorizing the wind down of certain transactions involving VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Otkritie, and Sovcombank until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 26, 2022; and
•    GL  12: authorizing the rejection (rather than blocking) of certain transactions involving VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Otkritie, and Sovcombank until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 26, 2022.

Note that these GLs do not authorize certain activities with all blocked Russian financial institutions; nor does each GL authorize certain activities with the same group of blocked Russian financial institutions.  For example, the GLs listed above do not authorize any transactions involving Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company or Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank, and GLs 2 and 3  relate only to VEB.  

Other GLs that may be applicable to one or more of the Russian financial institutions blocked in February 2022 include:

•    GL  5: authorizing transactions related to the official business of certain international organizations and other entities; 
•    GL  6: authorizing certain transactions related to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components, or software updates, or the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; 
•    GL  7: authorizing overflight payments, emergency landings, and air ambulance services;

•    GL  8A: authorizing transactions related to energy; 
•    GL  9A: authorizing transactions related to dealings in certain debt and equity until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022; and
•    GL  10A: authorizing certain transactions related to derivative contracts until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022. 

Please consult each GL for further information regarding its scope.  

On March 1, 2022, OFAC issued the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587 (RuHSR), which incorporate GL 5 in section 587.510 of the RuHSR.

Additionally, consistent with section 9 of E.O. 14024, transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programs, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, and contractors thereof are exempt from the sanctions prohibitions of E.O. 14024.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Treasury took expansive sanctions actions related to Russia’s financial services sector in February 2022 as detailed below.

  • Financial services sector determination.  On February 22, 2022, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, issued a determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes sanctions against persons determined to operate or to have operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy (see FAQ 964).  
  • Correspondent or payable-through account and payment processing prohibitions.  On February 24, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Directive 2 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Correspondent or Payable-Through Accounts and Processing of Transactions Involving Certain Foreign Financial Institutions” (Russia-related CAPTA Directive), which prohibits U.S. financial institutions from:  (i) the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive; and (ii) the processing of transactions involving foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive identifies Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia and other foreign financial institutions owned 50 percent or more by this bank as subject to these prohibitions, which become effective on March 26, 2022 (see FAQs 964, 967, 968, 969, 970, 971, 972 and 973).
  • Blocking certain Russian financial institutions.  OFAC designated specified Russian financial institutions pursuant to E.O. 14024, including the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB), VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie, Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company, Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company, Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank, and several of these financial institutions’ subsidiaries.  As a result, all property and interests in property of these entities in the possession or control of U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, or within U.S. jurisdiction, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, all property and interests in property of any entity that is owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  Accordingly, U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, are prohibited from transacting with these entities unless exempt or authorized by OFAC (see FAQs 974, 975, 976, 977, 978, 979, 980, 981, and 982).  
  • Expanding sovereign debt prohibitions to include the secondary market.  On February 22, 2022, OFAC issued Directive 1A under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive), replacing and superseding Directive 1 under E.O. 14024 of April 15, 2021, to extend existing sovereign debt prohibitions to cover participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (see FAQs 888, 889, 890, 891, 965, and 983).  
  • New debt and equity restrictions involving certain Russia-related entities.  On February 24, 2022, OFAC imposed additional debt and equity restrictions involving Russia-related entities by issuing Directive 3 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to New Debt and Equity of Certain Russia-related Entities” (Russia-related Entities Directive), to prohibit certain dealings by U.S. persons, or within the United States, in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity or new equity of Russia-related entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive.  OFAC determined on February 24, 2022 that the entities listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive, which include certain major Russian state-owned enterprises and large privately owned financial institutions, are subject to the prohibitions of this directive for new debt or equity issued on or after March 26, 2022 (see 983, 984, 985, 986, 987, 988 and 989). 

  • General Licenses (GLs).  OFAC issued several Russia-related GLs authorizing certain transactions otherwise prohibited by E.O. 14024 (see FAQs 974, 975, 976, 977, 978, 979981982, and 990).

  • New restrictions on sovereign transactions.  On February 28, 2022, OFAC issued Directive 4 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Transactions Involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive) to prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, including any transfer of assets to such entities or any foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of such entities (see FAQs 998 – 1003).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Directive 1 under E.O. 14024 of April 15, 2021 imposed prohibitions on participation in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by, or the lending of ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.  The Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive replaces and supersedes Directive 1 under E.O. 14024 of April 15, 2021.  It expands upon the existing prohibitions to also prohibit, as of March 1, 2022 , participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by these entities after March 1, 2022.  Please see FAQ 888 for additional details on the effective dates of these prohibitions.

The Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive also includes technical revisions to the definition of “U.S. financial institution” to expand the definition.

Independent of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related entities subject to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under E.O. 13883 and E.O. 14024.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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The prohibitions announced by the State Department on August 20, 2021 related to U.S. bank loans have the same scope as those imposed by OFAC in August 2019 under the CBW Act Directive.  Please see FAQs 675678 for additional information.

Independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Even prior to June 14, 2021, “U.S. banks” were prohibited from participating in the primary market for non-ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign (including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation), and from lending non-ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign pursuant to the Russia-related Directive under Executive Order 13883 (“CBW Act Directive”), which was issued on August 2, 2019 and went into effect on August 26, 2019.  However, the CBW Act Directive does not prohibit “U.S. banks” (as defined in the CBW Act Directive) from participating in the primary market for ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign, or the lending of ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign.

Pursuant to Directive 1A under (E.O.) 14024 , “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive), after June 14, 2021, U.S. financial institutions (as defined in the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive) are prohibited from participating in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by, or the lending of ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, unless otherwise authorized by OFAC or exempt.  Pursuant to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, as of March 1, 2022, U.S. financial institutions are also prohibited from participating in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by these entities. 

Note that the prohibitions found in the CBW Act Directive remain in effect and are separate from the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, or other directives under E.O. 14024.  For more information on the CBW Act Directive, please see FAQs 673 - 678.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Pursuant to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, the following activities by a U.S. financial institution are prohibited:

  1. As of June 14, 2021, participation in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation; 
  2. As of June 14, 2021, lending ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation; and
  3. As of March 1, 2022, participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

Further, except to the extent otherwise provided by law or unless authorized by OFAC or exempt, the following are also prohibited pursuant to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive:  (1) any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive; and (2) any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive. 

Independent of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related entities subject to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under Executive Order (E.O.) 13883 and E.O. 14024.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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No, the CBW Act Directive does not prohibit U.S. banks from participating in the secondary market for Russian sovereign debt.  However, independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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The CBW Act Directive defines the term “U.S. banks.”  This definition is consistent with section 4(c) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13883, and with the definition of “U.S. financial institution” at 31 CFR § 544.311.  The CBW Act Directive defines the term “Russian sovereign” as any ministry, agency, or sovereign fund of the Russian Federation, including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.   This term does not include state-owned enterprises of the Russian Federation.

Independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under E.O. 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.). 13883, 31 CFR § 544.802, and the CBW Act, on August 2, 2019, OFAC issued a Russia-Related Directive (the “CBW Act Directive”), which prohibits U.S. banks from participating in the primary market for non-ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign and also prohibits U.S. banks from lending non-ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign.  The prohibitions under the CBW Act Directive do not apply to bonds or loans denominated in rubles.  The prohibitions in the CBW Act Directive only apply to “U.S. banks,” as that term is defined in the CBW Act Directive and consistent with section 4(c) of E.O. 13883 and consistent with the definition of U.S. financial institution at 31 CFR § 544.311.  The CBW Act Directive includes a definition of the term “Russian sovereign.”  The CBW Act Directive is effective as of August 26, 2019.

Independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed additional prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under E.O. 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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