PAVEL GANIN, PARTNER AT A.T.LEGAL FOR RBC
InteractiveBroker customers have been sent letters beginning Jan. 1, 2022, informing them that there will be an additional fee "for comprehensive verification" of their accounts. The letter states that the verification is required because of location or "other characteristics. Russian clients believe that this is some sort of fee for toxic residency, since the Russian Federation is under sanctions.
Pavel Ganin, Lawyer, Partner at A.T.Legal, on what this innovation by IB may be connected with and whether such practice is widespread at all.
"IB does not provide a specific exhaustive list of reasons for which their clients' accounts may be considered "suspicious". Indeed, among the first reasons for imposing additional fees is the clients' belonging to a number of certain countries, among which is the Russian Federation. However, it is too early to make final conclusions. In addition, given the significant number of Russian IB users, the residency criterion alone is clearly insufficient, since only a small percentage of Russian residents received such letters. The amount of fees received by users also varies.
This is not the first time such practice has happened. For example, back in August 2020, IB started closing accounts of Russian clients after the U.S. regulator fined them for improper anti-money laundering efforts. And in November 2021, the broker began to block the accounts of users in connection with their visit to Crimea."
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