Monetary Blockade Of Russia Begins: JPMorgan Blocks Russian Money Transfer "Under Pretext" Of Sanctions
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/01/2014 14:56 -0400
While the flare up of Cold War 2.0 may seem like last week's news, overnight something very notable happened that so far virtually nobody appears to have paid attention to. According to Russian Kommersant, none other than the biggest US bank, JPMorgan, was reported to be "reviewing counterpart relations with all Russian lenders" citing unidentified people. The review is part of JPMorgan’s push for transparency in banking and not part of sanctions against Russia over Crimea. Perhaps this is true: Kommersant added that Sberbank and VTB were contacted in January and February while another unidentified bank recently received letter saying JPMorgan would cease correspondent accounts with them on April 1.
JPM cleaning up its act is certainly plausible: after all the last thing the bank that has paid out nearly $30 billion in legal charges, penalties and settlements in the past few years need right now is more legal charges due to laundering Russian billionaires' cash (coughHSBCcough) at a time when Russia, which has humiliated the US state department twice in under a year, is hardly perceived as a critical ally to the US. So one can see why JPM would be cautious in transacting with Russia financial entities.
And yet, while the headline sanctions so far have involved mostly freezing of Russian politician and oligarch assets in jurisdictions in where there were no such assets, it appears that JPM has not only escalated on its own but taken the Russian sanctions to an entirely new level: one which may quite promptly devolve into a complete monetary blockade of all of Russia.