Published: 24.11.2022 Updated: 31.01.2023

What should be taken into consideration in the context of new European Union sanctions against Russia and Belarus?

In view of Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the military attack on Ukraine, the European Union and other countries continue to step up sanctions against Russia and Belarus, which will also affect payments made and received to/from Russia and Belarus. As part of the financial sanctions imposed, the funds of sanctioned persons from Russia and Belarus, located in Latvian financial institutions, will be frozen, as well as it will not be possible for persons to receive and make payments with sanctioned persons, as well as to make payments for goods and services specified in sanctions, as well as to carry out transactions in financial instruments within the limits set out in sanctions.

Sanctions have also been imposed on a number of Russian banks, which means that they will not be able to make payments with those banks. At the same time, the sanctions framework provides for the possibility for Latvijas Banka (previously – the Financial and Capital Market Commission) to issue permits for payments, if they are related to ensuring the basic needs of individuals (e.g., pensions, State fees, medical expenses, etc.).

Given that many residents of Latvia have links with Russia and Belarus in order to ensure the execution of payments, which are necessary to meet the basic needs of individuals, the Financial and Capital Market Commission has granted financial institutions a general licence for such payments. If the payment does not fall within the scope of the general licence, but by its nature and substance should be recognised as necessary for the basic needs of the person, the person may apply with the request to the servicing bank. On the other hand, the bank will further refer to Latvijas Banka for an individual payment authorisation.

Latvijas Banka calls on residents to be tolerant when banks ask additional questions about targets or details of payment to or from Russia or Belarus. The purpose of this supplementary inquiry is to make certain that payments are not made to or for the benefit of sanctioned persons. Please be informed that any person is bound by European Union sanctions, while the financial sector also respects the sanctions imposed by the US (OFAC) in addition to the European Union sanctions.

Current information on the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the US (OFAC)

European Union sanctions

Current information on the amount of funds frozen in Latvian financial institutions

The amount of funds frozen in Latvian financial institutions (as of 27.01.2023)

In the context of sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus by the European Union, approximately EUR 83.5 million have been frozen in Latvian financial institutions by the end of business day 27 January according to data compiled by Latvijas Banka this week.

So far, six natural persons directly subject to sanctions have been identified in Latvian banks, as well as 35 legal entities who are not directly included in the sanctions lists, but ownership or control of the sanctioned persons has been identified, consequently, the funds and securities of those entities have been frozen.

The amount of frozen funds is likely to grow in the future in view of due diligence that is still ongoing, transactions in accounts of individual high-risk customers have been temporarily suspended and new sanctions are being imposed.

Contacts

Should you have any questions about compliance with the financial restrictions imposed by sanctions, please contact Latvijas Banka

  • by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • by phone: +371 67 022 300.

Should you have any general questions about sanctions, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For further information, also on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Statements by the European financial supervisory authorities