U.S. banks are caught between calls from Congress to sever ties with Russian business and from the Biden administration to keep some of those connections that are not subject to ongoing sanctions.
Bloomberg reported Citi and JPMorgan Chase are being encouraged to keep doing business with parts of the Russian economy that have not been sanctioned in order to avoid a global economic crisis.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testified before Congress in September, saying, "We are following the instructions of the American government as they asked us to do it," when asked about doing business in Russia.
Last month Citigroup's Jane Fraser said: "We have been supporting our multinational clients in Russia. We are now informing them that we will be ending nearly all of the institutional-banking services we offer by the end of the first quarter of next year.
"At that point, our only operations in Russia will be those necessary to fulfill our remaining legal and regulatory obligations."
"Congress needs to understand this — the U.S. government has not imposed a comprehensive embargo with Russia; there's still pockets of business that are allowed," said attorney Nnedinma Ifudu Nweke, a specialist in U.S. economic sanctions and trade embargoes with the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
Nweke noted the Treasury Department "will continue to have meetings to educate banks on those pockets of allowable transactions, especially in the humanitarian space."
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