European Union regulators have told some banks to scrutinise transactions by all Russian and Belarusian clients, including EU residents, to ensure that they are not used to circumvent Western sanctions against Moscow, three sources told Reuter, APA reports citing Reuters.
The instructions from European Central Bank (ECB) supervisors mean tens of thousands of Russians and Belarusians resident in the EU face intense surveillance by their banks, which are on alert for big payments and deposits as well as new credit applications, the sources familiar with the matter said.
While EU sanctions against Moscow exempt people holding temporary or permanent EU residence permits, they place some restrictions on access by Russian nationals to banking services, including preventing banks from accepting deposits above 100,000 euros ($110,000) from Russian nationals or entities.
The ECB move brings even EU residents under heightened scrutiny and would make it harder for them to operate bank accounts, with one of the sources saying some were already facing restrictions in Spain. This follows Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin describes as a special operation to demilitarise and "deNazify" the country.
The ECB is checking that banks which it supervises "have in place the necessary arrangements to adhere to the sanctions", including with regards to transactions and relationships with clients, but it has not issued any guideline beyond the EU's rules, a spokesperson for the Frankfurt-based central bank said.
Some ECB Joint Supervisory Teams, which include staff from the central bank and national authorities, have told banks to tighten control of EU residents too if they come from Russia or Belarus, the three sources, from banks and watchdogs, said.