Shaheen, Whitehouse Send Letters to Major Banks Requesting Details on Action Taken Following The Trump Administration’s Publication of Russian “Oligarchs List”
(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) of the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees, recently sent letters to eight major American and European financial institutions requesting details on any actions taken following the Trump administration’s publication of the so-called “Oligarchs List,” a list of wealthy Russians with close ties to the Kremlin.
The senators sent letters to Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse, and read in part, “By voting overwhelmingly to require the creation of the so-called “Oligarchs List,” Congress signaled its strong, bipartisan intent to gain a better understanding of these people and their relationships with senior Russian political figures … we feel that the January 2018 report [“Oligarchs List”], and not just sanctions designations alone, should guide banks and help to detect and deter the exploitation of our financial system by Russian oligarchs and senior political figures, some of whom may have engaged in acts of corruption and the privatization of state-owned assets in a way which unjustly benefited state officials or their family members, or other sanctionable conduct.”
The letters, addressed to the CEOs of these banks, go on to request the following information:
- Whether said financial institution conducted any review in the last five years to determine whether any accounts exist, loans issued or financial services performed by any individual on the Oligarchs List, or on behalf of anyone on the list?
- If so, who performed the review and how was the review conducted?
- If financial services, accounts or loans were discovered during such a review, what follow-up action was taken?
- If no such review has been performed, what is your financial institution doing to identify individuals named in the Oligarchs List?
Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to harden American institutions and infrastructure against malign actors. Shaheen was the first official to sound the alarm on the dangers of Kaspersky Lab, a Kremlin-linked software company used on some federal agency computers and networks, and successfully worked to ban the software across the federal government. Shaheen has also led efforts to assess the risks from source code reviews conducted by foreign governments on software used on sensitive networks in the U.S. government. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her efforts to hold the Kremlin accountable for its interference in the 2016 presidential election, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in December 2017.
Senator Whitehouse has led the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism’s bipartisan inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, holding hearings on Russia’s playbook for interfering abroad, the strategy Russia employed in the U.S. in 2016, and the steps the U.S. should take to protect itself in coming elections. He is the lead sponsor of the bipartisan TITLE Act, a bill that would crack down on foreign nationals and kleptocrats laundering ill-gotten gains through American shell companies. He is also the lead sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act, which would require disclosure of dark money spending that experts say could enable the likes of Vladimir Putin to exert malign influence in American elections.
The letters can be read in their entirety below: