Entrepreneur Shukhrat Rakhmanov on May 18 reported on his Facebook group that recently U.S. banks began confiscating the cash of Uzbek legal entities paying for goods and services to Russian and Belarusian partners.
According to him, his company is an importer, and made payments to transport firms for railway services and suppliers of raw materials.
“More than $200,000 was confiscated from our firm alone, and there are dozens of such firms throughout the country. The problem of freezing or confiscation of funds by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States faced the clients of all banks of the republic without exception,” he wrote.
According to him, repeated appeals to the Central Bank, the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are "ignored".
“Banks shrug their shoulders, all they can do is endlessly write to their correspondent bank Asia-Invest. The business was once again left alone with its problems. After almost three months of the war, our Central Bank has not announced safe transfer schemes or payment guidelines for Uzbek legal entities. We ourselves are in correspondence with a division of the US Department of the Treasury with a request to return our money, without the mediation by the Central Bank, banks or representatives of ministries, ”he said.
Shukhrat Rakhmanov updated the May 23 post by saying that he was contacted by the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Justice. According to him, now banks have begun to give customers letters stating that customers take the risks of paying. “No payments are made without signing such letters,” he said.
In the comments to the post, Shukhrat Rakhmanov attached a photo with a response from the American Bank of New York Mellon, which states that “funds cannot be returned due to sanctions against Russia under EO 14024” (an administrative decree that provides for sanctions against Russia for its harmful foreign activities, including the violation of well-established principles of international law, such as respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states).
He said that such messages came to many firms in response to the cancellation of payments, even if partner companies are not under sanctions.
Users recommended that he switch to mutual settlements in rubles. “It is difficult to transfer several hundred active foreign exchange contracts into rubles in a short period of time, but we are working in this direction ... We have already converted 80% of our contracts into rubles and will transfer the rest, the high exchange rate of the ruble is not beneficial for us, but at least it is safe”, Shukhrat Rakhmanov answered.
Entrepreneur Oleg Tsoi in the comments also reported problems with the payment.
“Our company paid a Russian shipping company two months ago for transportation services in US dollars, and this money hung in New York for two months for verification. Today, according to our request, the money was returned to our bank,” he said.
Zebiniso Aripova also said that her company's money was returned within a week from the account of the Russian transport company, which forced them to pay again in rubles for the transportation. In a conversation with a Gazeta.uz correspondent, she noted that the Russian company was serviced by a bank that fell under sanctions. “Accordingly, the bank rejected the currency, and we had to pay in Russian rubles,” she said.