Senators Praised for Pushing Treasury to Designate Russian Banks as Sanctions-Evaders
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First welcomed a letter sent by a bipartisan group of four U.S. senators to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew asking that the United States designate as sanctions-evaders those Russian banks that have enabled Syria to avoid the effect of U.S. sanctions. The letter was signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kelley Ayotte (R-NH) and John Cornyn (R-TX).
“This bipartisan group of senators understands that U.S. options in Syria are not limited to bombing or wringing our hands,” said Human Rights First’s Sonni Efron. “There are non-lethal measures, including banking sanctions, that could be used to target those entities that are enabling Assad’s mass atrocities.”
The United States and the European Union have strict sanctions against Syria, but as the Russia continues to arm the Assad regime, there have been numerous reports that Russian banks are continuing to provide banking services to the Assad government or hold Assad family assets. The U.S. Treasury Department has the authority to name banks that are sanctions-busting and prohibit U.S. banks and financial institutions from doing business with them.
Click here for Human Rights First recommendations for nonlethal policy options in Syria.