AT THE READY: Banks prepared to adopt govt’s directives on sanctions against Russia, says Central Bank

AT THE READY: Banks prepared to adopt govt’s directives on sanctions against Russia, says Central Bank
The Central Bank of The Bahamas. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CENTRAL BANK)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Central Bank Governor John Rolle said Bahamian-based institutions have been advised to take appropriate measures and stand prepared to adopt any official position taken by the government with respect to sanctions against Russian entities.

This comes as several international banks have already complied with their respective countries’ sanctions on Russian institutions and oligarchs,

Central Bank Governor John Rolle.

“We have advised our institutions to apply appropriate risk management and due diligence in their operations,” said Rolle, when contacted for comment.

“Additional guidance and directives will be issued to supervised financial institutions based on our continuing consultation with the government and any official position that might be taken by the government.”

The Bahamas has strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, joining 140 other United Nations members in demanding that Russia withdraw its military forces from the country.

But it has not taken a formal position on imposing sanctions, notwithstanding a recent formal request from the United States to join its allies in issuing sanctions to impose “severe consequences on Russia” and hold its government accountable.

In a statement yesterday, Cabinet said the matter of sanctions was discussed extensively and the government was in “consultations with our partners and stakeholders, both domestic and international”.

“In the meantime, we are advising all entities within The Bahamas that they ought to deal with appropriate caution in respect of any transactions in our country with Russian individuals and entities who have been sanctioned by the United States, European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom,” the Cabinet office said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.

“We continue to deplore the attack on Ukraine by the Russian Federation.”

When he addressed the media on the issue of sanctions on Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell said the matter was evolving, but the issue of what to do was “probably going to be driven by the practicalities of…the relationship with the United States and the European Union and then secondly our financial services sector”.

He said: “From what I have seen…many of the banks and trust companies here are already dealing with individuals who have been sanctioned and institutions that have been sanctioned as if sanctions had been imposed by The Bahamas government, and that is because in their home countries, they may run afoul of the law if they do not apply [the] sanctions that had been applied in their home countries.

“So, that may already be happening in The Bahamas and it’s a question of catching up, so to speak.”

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.