Central Bank reminds business groups of Russian sanctions obligations

Regulator declines to give update on the extent of sanction-linked assets that have been frozen in the State

The Central Bank has written to business and professional organisations to remind them of its role in overseeing financial sanctions in the State, and of the responsibility of every Irish person to uphold EU prohibitions as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues.

“It is vitally important that Ireland plays its part in the effective implementation of sanctions to ensure that the sanctions achieve their desired goal,” said Seána Cunningham, director of enforcement and anti-money laundering at the Central Bank.

“The adoption of sanctions places legally binding obligations on all individuals and entities and we are requesting that business and professional groups would assist in ensuring that their members are aware of these obligations.”

It is a criminal offence not to report sanction breaches, or suspected breaches, to An Garda Síochána.

The regulator has written to organisations including the Law Society, Bar of Ireland, individual chambers of commerce, Ibec, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, accountancy bodies and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

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The letter states that it is asking the various bodies to ensure all of their members are made aware of available information resources on the matter, including a dedicated Russia/Ukraine regulations page on the regulator’s website. This sets out important information, including details of the sanctions that have been adopted; financial sanctions requirements; frequently asked questions; and how to apply for authorisations or derogations for certain transactions through the regulator.

If a business or individual is in possession or control of funds or economic resources of a person or entity that is subject to a financial sanction, they must freeze these and report the matter to the Central Bank through a special sanctions return form.

As of mid-April, more than €1 billion of assets of sanctioned Russian individuals and entities had been frozen in the Republic out of an EU total figure of more than €36 billion at the time, according to EU data. In addition, hundreds of billions of euro of transactions have been blocked throughout the EU.

A spokesman for the Central Bank declined to give an update on the extent of sanction-linked assets that have been frozen in the State.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times