Sectoral sanctions against Belarus: things to take note of
The Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering has prepared information for Lithuanian businesses and financial market participants on key points when implementing the EU’s restrictive measures in respect of Belarus in the form of sectoral sanctions
‘The sanctions do affect certain business conditions between Lithuanian and Belarusian companies. We are seeking to summarise the practical aspects of application of the sanctions, present recommendations, ensure their efficient and proportionate enforcement, strengthen cooperation between business and institutions and ensure risk awareness and sound management of sanctions’ related risks’, says Eimantas Vytuvis, Director of the Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering.
According to the data of the Association of Lithuanian Banks, more than 19,000 payment transactions were completed this July between Lithuanian and Belarusian entities through accounts at Lithuanian banks.
Council Regulation (EU) 2021/1030 that imposes sanctions on Belarus applies to business entities, public authorities, as well as private individuals. Therefore, entities dealing with the Belarusian market are advised to put in place and follow sanction compliance programmes, while financial institutions should assess their business relationships with their customers, Belarus-related payment volumes, and consider enhanced measures in respect of real-time monitoring of operations and transactions.
For the purpose of enforcement of sectoral sanctions credit institutions are required to apply enhanced processes for verification of payment transactions. For this reason, customers dealing with Belarus are advised to plan their payment orders in advance, by notifying the finance institutions about scheduled incoming and outgoing payments.
The information was prepared in consultation with the Bank of Lithuania, the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs, the Financial Crime Investigation Service, the Customs Department, Lithuanian banks and the Association of Lithuanian Banks. The Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering will periodically collect and summarise information on the identification, monitoring and management of risks related to sectoral sanctions in Lithuania and other EU Member States. For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invites to access the up-to-date information on legislation adopted by the European Union in relation to restrictive measures which is published in the Official Journal of the European Union EUR-Lex, containing the information on individuals, entities and operations subject to the restrictive measures of the EU.
The Centre of Excellence in Anti-Money Laundering established in Lithuania combines the efforts of public and private sectors in strengthening the framework for prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The Centre is founded by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, the Bank of Lithuania, commercial banks (AB SEB bankas, Swedbank, AB, AB Šiaulių bankas, Luminor Bank AS Lithuanian branch, UAB Medicinos bankas, Revolut Bank, UAB, AS Citadele banka Lithuanian branch and OP Corporate Bank plc Lithuanian branch).