Singapore sanctions Russian banks, blocks crypto loophole over Ukraine

March 6, 2022

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced over a press release that it will impose financial measures targeted at designated Russian banks, entities and activities in Russia, as well as fundraising activities benefiting the Russian government.

Here’s everything you need to know:

  • According to the press statement by MFA, the Singapore Government will also impose export controls on items that can be “directly used as weapons to inflict harm on or to subjugate the Ukrainians”, as well as items that can contribute to offensive cyber operations.
  • These sanctions and restrictions against Russia come in response to its invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb 24.
  • “While we continue to value good relations with Russia and the Russian people, we cannot accept the Russian government’s violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another sovereign state,” said the ministry.
  • Singapore’s biggest banks are already restricting trade financing for Russian raw materials including a halt on issuing letters of credit in U.S. dollars for trades involving oil and liquefied natural gas. Singapore Airlines has also suspended all return services with Moscow due to operational reasons.
  • “Where there are existing business relationships, financial institutions must freeze any assets and funds of these designated entities. Details on the designation of non-bank entities will be provided subsequently,” said MFA.
  • They also cannot enter into or facilitate any transactions involving cryptocurrencies, to circumvent any of the prohibitions. The prohibited cryptocurrency transactions cover all transactions that involve cryptocurrencies and extend to the payment and settlement of transactions that relate to digital assets, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), said MFA.
  • In an interview with Bloomberg, spokesperson for Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC said: “Our client, the Government of Singapore, has said … that it will cease investing in newly issued securities by the Russian government; the Central Bank of the Russian Federation; or any entity owned or controlled by them or acting on their direction or behalf. 
  • “This includes investments of Government’s funds managed by GIC. GIC continues to assess the Russian-Ukrainian situation and will ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.” 


About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.


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