The US government has told American citizens they are now banned from providing professional services to anyone in Russia, as part of new sanctions in response to the war in Ukraine.
The White House said today that all US persons are now banned from providing accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services to anyone in the Russian Federation.
In a statement, the White House said: “These services are key to Russian companies and elites building wealth, thereby generating revenue for Putin’s war machine, and to trying to hide that wealth and evade sanctions.”
The ban comes in the midst of mounting scrutiny over the role lawyers, accountants, and PR managers have played in enabling Putin’s regime.
The US sanctions package comes after the UK banned accountants, management consultants and PR firms from working with Russia last week.
Speaking on a press call, a Biden administration official noted that the UK and US “have historically provided most of the [professional] services” Russia needs, as he claimed the new sanctions would cut those services off.
In both cases legal services are excluded from the bans, meaning law firms will still be allowed to work with Russian clients.
The Biden administration official said the US had offered a carve out for lawyers so as to ensure “due process” is available to Russians fighting legal battles in the US.
However, the official said the US is currently “reevaluating… the breadth of these services sanctions everyday,” as he noted the US is also “talking very actively” with the UK government.
The professional services embargo comes as part of a wider package of US sanctions, which saw the country target executives at Gazprombank for the first time since Russian sent into Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters, a Biden administration official said the sanctions are intended to signal that “Gazprombank is not a safe haven” as he noted the bank’s role in facilitating the sale of Russian gas to Europe has made the US reluctant to shut it down.
The sanctions package saw 27 execs at Gazprombank and eight executives at Russia’s largest financial institution Sberbank hit with sanctions.