WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – The top U.S. Treasury Department sanctions official visiting Turkey and the Middle East next week will warn countries and companies that they risk losing access to G7 markets if they do business with U.S.-restricted entities. Opportunities, as Washington cracks down on Russia’s attempts to evade sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine.
Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson will travel to Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey during the week of 1 January. According to a statement from the Treasury Department, it met with government officials as well as businesses and financial institutions on the 29th, reiterating that Washington will continue to vigorously enforce the sanctions.
“Individuals and institutions operating in permissive jurisdictions may lose access to G7 markets due to doing business with sanctioned entities,” the department said.
During the trip, which was first reported by Reuters, Nielsen will discuss Treasury Department efforts to crack down on Russia’s evasion of sanctions and export controls imposed in response to its brutal war against Ukraine, Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, illegal Financial risks undermine economic growth, as well as foreign investment.
The trip marks the latest visit by senior Treasury officials to Turkey to discuss sanctions, as Washington ramps up pressure on Ankara to ensure U.S. restrictions on Russia follow a series of warnings from officials last year.
Nelson’s trip comes amid tensions between the United States and Turkey, as the two NATO allies disagree on a range of issues.
More recently, Washington has been rattled by Turkey’s refusal to approve Sweden and Finland’s proposals to join NATO, while Ankara has become frustrated that its request to buy F-16 fighter jets is increasingly tied to the two Nordic nations’ ability to join the alliance.
Nielsen will visit Turkey’s capital Ankara and financial center Istanbul on February 12. 2-3. A Treasury spokesman told Reuters on Friday that he would warn companies and banks that they should avoid deals related to the transfer of potential dual-use technology that could end up being used by the Russian military.
Dual-use items can have both commercial and military uses.
Washington and its allies have imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Moscow since the invasion, which has killed thousands and left Ukrainian cities in ruins.
Turkey condemned the Russian incursion and sent armed drones to Ukraine. At the same time, it opposes Western sanctions against Russia and has close ties with Black Sea neighbors Moscow and Kyiv.
It also strengthens trade and tourism with Russia. Some Turkish companies have bought or attempted to buy Russian assets withdrawn due to sanctions from Western partners, while others have retained significant assets in the country.
But Ankara has pledged not to evade international sanctions in Turkey.
Washington also worries about U.S. evasion of sanctions on Iran.
The United States last month imposed sanctions on prominent Turkish businessman Sitki Ayan and his network of companies, accusing him of facilitating oil sales and money laundering by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
While in the United Arab Emirates, Nelson will notice “poor sanctions compliance” in the country, the spokesman said.
Washington has imposed a series of sanctions on companies based in the United Arab Emirates for evading Iran-related sanctions and on Thursday designated a UAE-based airline to support Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary company fighting in Ukraine.
In Oman, Nielsen will meet with counterparts to discuss cooperation in combating illicit financing, including terrorism financing, the ministry said.
Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Humeyra Pamuk Editing by Don Durfee, Leslie Adler and Diane Craft
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