MAS issues details of Russia sanctions that include digital payment curbs

MAS issued two notices that explain the entities the sanctions are targeted at and other dos and don'ts. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued the details of the Republic's financial and trade sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine.

MAS issued two notices on March 14 (Monday) that explain the entities the sanctions are targeted at, the financial institutions, including payment service providers, and other dos and don'ts.

"In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Singapore Government has imposed financial measures targeted at designated Russian banks, entities and activities in Russia, and fund-raising activities benefiting the Russian government," said MAS.

It stressed that these measures apply to all financial institutions in Singapore, including banks, finance companies, insurers, capital markets intermediaries, securities exchanges and payment service providers.

"Digital payment token service providers are therefore specifically prohibited from facilitating transactions that could aid the circumvention of the financial measures," it noted.

Under the MAS Act, financial institutions found in breach of any of its regulations can be fined.

The notice on Financial Measures in Relation to Russia named the designated banks as VTB Bank, Vnesheconombank (Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs), Promsvyazbank and Bank Rossiya.

It said the sanctions will extend to all entities owned or controlled by these banks, directly or indirectly, or entities that are acting on behalf of or under the direction of these banks.

MAS said designated entities are those involved in activities related to the export, transhipment or transit through Singapore or any other jurisdiction to Russia of items specified in the List of Military Goods set out in the Schedule to the Strategic Goods (Control) Order 2021.

It said financial institutions must also not enter into any transaction, provide any financial assistance or service to designated entities for export of certain categories of electronic, computer, telecommunications and information security items in the List of Dual-Use Goods.

Financial institutions are also prohibited to purchase, sell, provide financial services for or assist in the issuance of, or deal in securities or certificates of deposit issued by the Russian government and the Central Bank of the Russian Federation from Monday onwards.

The trade and financial prohibitions will also apply to Donetsk and Luhansk, the breakaway republics of Ukraine.

Remote video URL

MAS said payment providers must not enter into agreement to facilitate digital payment token transactions that may be used to facilitate any of the prohibited transactions or activities.

The regulator said it may grant exemptions or may exclude some of the financial measures from the scope of the sanctions.

Such exemptions may include payment or transfer necessary for basic expenses of any designated bank or entity, including insurance premiums, reasonable fees for the provision of property management services or technology-related services.

Remuneration, allowances or Central Provident Fund contributions of employees, payment of tax, rent, mortgage, utility and telecommunications charges are also exempted from the scope of the sanctions.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.