09 March 2022
Four U.S. senators are introducing a bill to place sanctions on Russia’s gold. “This legislation would deter the purchase of Russian gold and close this loophole that allows the Russian Federation to soften the financial impact of sanctions,” the senators explained. “By sanctioning these reserves, we can further isolate Russia from the world’s economy and increase the difficulty of Putin’s increasingly-costly military campaign.”
U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Angus King (I-ME) announced Tuesday the introduction of the “Stop Russian Government and Oligarchs from Limiting Democracy (Stop Russian GOLD) Act.”
“The free world’s sanctions are devastating Russia’s economy — and as long as Putin continues his horrific invasion, we must keep up the pressure,” Senator King tweeted. He added that he has joined Senators Cornyn, Hassan, and Hagerty “to introduce sanctions on Russia’s gold reserves.”
In a follow-up tweet, he explained:
Russia’s gold supply is one of the few remaining assets that Putin can use to prop up his country’s economy. By sanctioning these reserves, we can further isolate Russia from the world’s economy and increase the difficulty of Putin’s increasingly-costly military campaign.
Senator Cornyn described: “Russia has taken a page out of Venezuela’s book by exploiting a loophole in current sanctions that allows them to launder money through the purchase and sale of gold.”
The senators’ announcement explains that “The Russian Federation is purchasing gold to offset the devaluation of its currency, the ruble, and is then selling that gold on international markets in exchange for high-value currency.”
The bill “would apply secondary sanctions to anyone transacting with or transporting gold from Russia’s central bank holdings or selling gold physically or electronically in Russia,” the announcement adds, elaborating:
The secondary sanctions in this legislation would deter the purchase of Russian gold and close this loophole that allows the Russian Federation to soften the financial impact of sanctions.
Senator Hagerty opined: “These bipartisan secondary sanctions on Russia’s gold transactions will build on the Biden administration’s recent Russia sanctions and further choke off Russia’s economy from capital.”
Meanwhile, a number of senators are concerned about Russia evading sanctions using cryptocurrency, including Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The G7 countries and the European Union have already said that they are taking measures to prevent cryptocurrency from being used to evade sanctions. In addition, the U.S. Treasury Department said it is monitoring crypto activities to prevent sanctions evasion.
However, a number of experts have said that cryptocurrency is not an effective tool to evade sanctions for Russia, including the CEOs of cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Binance.
Carol House, the director of cybersecurity for the National Security Council, concurred. She stated: “The scale that the Russian state would need to successfully circumvent all U.S. and partners’ financial sanctions would almost certainly render cryptocurrency as an ineffective primary tool for the state.”
What do you think about U.S. senators introducing a bill to sanction Russia’s gold? Let us know in the comments section below.
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