On June 28, 2022, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in consultation with the Departments of Commerce and State, issued a determination prohibiting gold imports from Russia, the country’s largest non-energy export, effective immediately. According to the determination, gold imports of Russian Federation origin are prohibited, except to the extent provided by law, or unless licensed or otherwise authorized by OFAC. The determination excludes gold of Russian Federation origin that was located outside of Russia before June 28, 2022. OFAC has defined the term “Russian Federation origin” to include goods produced, manufactured, extracted or processed in the Russian Federation, excluding any Russian Federation-origin good that has been incorporated or substantially transformed into a foreign-made product.

The United States has been joined in this effort by the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan. Even before this determination and prohibition, OFAC stated that it has cautioned U.S. persons “to be vigilant about attempts to circumvent OFAC regulations through gold-related transactions.” In a related FAQ, OFAC states that U.S. persons, including gold dealers, distributors, wholesalers, buyers, individual traders, refineries and financial institutions, are prohibited under Executive Order (EO) 14024 from engaging in or facilitating prohibited transactions, including gold-related transactions, in which blocked persons have an interest.

Further, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transaction — including gold-related transactions — involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation pursuant to Directive 4 under EO 14024 (Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive). U.S. financial institutions are also generally prohibited from processing transactions, including gold-related transactions, involving foreign financial institutions that are determined to be subject to the prohibitions of Directive 2 under Executive Order 14024 (Russia-related CAPTA Directive).