- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Two senior Democratic senators have threatened to investigate some of the world’s leading financial institutions if they fail to provide information about accounts and assets linked to wealthy Russians designated by the Treasury Department for possible sanctions.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island have written to three major U.S. banks — Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank — in addition to European-based Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse, their offices announced Wednesday.

Sent last week, the letters request that bank officials hand over details related to any accounts, assets or services the institutions provide to any of the 96 Russian individuals named on the Treasury Department’s so-called “oligarchs list” in January.

“Given their wealth and relationship to the Russian state, many oligarchs in Russia either wield or are susceptible to considerable political influence,” the two senators said in the letter, adding that some of the individuals have been known to use their wealth to shield the Kremlin from international sanctions.

Last year, in response to allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Congress passed a law requiring the Treasury Department to compile a list of wealthy Russians to possibly sanction by freezing assets or denying visas.

The senators’ letter asks the banks if they’ve cross-checked the Treasury Department oligarch list over the past five years with their accounts to identify any activity between the two.

If the banks fail to provide information on the listed oligarchs, the senators reportedly plan to seek more intrusive action, such as a government investigation.

• Dan Boylan can be reached at dboylan@washingtontimes.com.

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