Sat, 30 Sep 2023

Dog lover bitten by Iran sanctions media
26 May 2023, 04:14 GMT+10

A Finnish woman has had her bank account frozen after attempting to pay for insurance for her pet

A woman in Finland triggered automatic penalties from the country's Financial Supervisory Authority, after it mistook payments made to an animal insurance company for a financial transfer to Iran, local media outlets reported on Wednesday. Tehran is currently under EU-wide economic sanctions, which prohibit most financial transfers.

According to a report by Finnish outlet Yle, the dog's owner had attempted to transfer a payment of €600 ($643) to Minni Munne's account to settle an insurance bill, after her dog, Ira, required emergency treatment while giving birth.

But in the subject field in the online transfer, the banking system mistook the term 'Ira's insurance' ('Iran vakuutus' in Finnish) for 'Iran insurance' - blocking not just the transfer, but also freezing Munne's entire account.

Her account was suspended for a week, Yle reported on Wednesday, forcing her to rely on the support of friends to pay for bills and other necessities.

"It is surprising that there was no warning about this," Munne said to the publication. "No call or message that the money transaction was being investigated. Everything came as a surprise. Now I have no idea when this matter will be resolved."

Practically all financial transactions to and from Iran are restricted by EU sanctions, with the exception of humanitarian cases. This also includes rules forbidding the provision of insurance from EU member state companies to Iran or Iranian-owned companies.

In most cases, major banks employ the use of software to 'screen' financial transactions to ensure they don't violate rules or laws that may be in place - a system which Helsinki's Financial Supervisory Authority says is "functioning in an exemplary manner," reports Yle.

It wasn't all bad news for Munne, however, as Ira successfully gave birth to six healthy puppies.


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