Putin-linked elites, yachts and companies targeted by new US sanctions
The United States on Thursday announced new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and elites, including some of Europe’s wealthiest men and their families, as well as sanctions targeting more Kremlin officials, businessmen linked to President Vladimir Putin and their yachts, planes and companies that run them. .
The latest US sanctions imposed for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also include Sergei Roldugin, seen as the guardian of Putin’s offshore wealth.
The announcement from the Treasury, State and Commerce Departments also includes sanctions against Dieu Nisanov, one of Europe’s richest men, and Alexey Mordashov, one of Russia’s richest billionaires, as well as his wife and two adult children.
Mordashev is the largest shareholder and chairman of Severstal, Russia’s largest steel and mining company. Acting under previous sanctions, Italian police seized one of his yachts.
These actions are part of President Joe Biden’s promise, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, to “continue the ill-gotten gains of Russian elites” and increase support for Ukrainians.
On Wednesday, the United States and Germany pledged to equip Ukraine with some of the cutting-edge weapons it has long wanted to shoot down planes and knock out artillery, as Russian forces close in on a key city to the east.
Russian elites, including President Putin, rely on complex support networks to hide, move and hold their wealth and luxuries, said Brian Nelson, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Intelligence. finance, in a press release.
We will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems through which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves, he said.
Earlier this year, the Treasury, Justice Department and other agencies convened a task force known as REPO for Russian elites, proxies and oligarchs to work with other countries to investigate and prosecute oligarchs and individuals allied with Putin.
Treasury officials said investigative collaborations with partners in other countries were imperative to identifying properties around the world.
Imperial Yachts SARL, a Monaco-based yacht brokerage firm and yachts including the Russian-flagged Graceful and the Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia are identified as stranded goods linked to Putin.
Others included in the latest round of sanctions are Yury Slyusar, president of United Aircraft Corp.; Vitaly Savelyev, Russian Minister of Transport; Maxim Reshetnikov, the country’s economic development minister; Irek Envarovich Faizullin, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities; and Dmitriy Yuryevich Grigorenkothe, Deputy Prime Minister and Chief of Cabinet of the Government.
The Commerce Department has added 71 additional individuals and entities located in Russia and Belarus to its sanctions list, in an effort to restrict the Russian military’s ability to obtain the technologies needed to continue its invasion.
The United States has worked closely with allied governments in Europe, Asia and elsewhere to impose thousands of sanctions on Russian elites, oligarchs and banks.
Allied governments did everything from banning individuals from trading Russian gold in the United States to banning companies from providing accounting, legal and consulting services to anyone. located in Russia.
Western allies have also begun to consider whether to allow Russian oligarchs to evade sanctions and use the money to rebuild Ukraine, according to government officials familiar with the matter.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters at the Group of Seven finance ministers’ meeting in Germany this month that other options were on the table to reduce Russia’s influence, including secondary sanctions or the formation of a cartel of oil buyers.
There are a lot of possibilities here and nothing has converged, she said.
Until recently, the US and EU largely allowed Russian oil and natural gas to continue to flow freely to the rest of the world. However, EU leaders agreed late Monday to cut Russian oil imports by around 90% over the next six months, a move that was considered unthinkable just a few months ago.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that Ukraine is fighting valiantly to defend its people and their independence with unprecedented help from the United States and countries around the world.
The United States will continue to support the people of Ukraine while promoting accountability for President Putin and those who enabled Russian aggression.
Nate Sibley, a researcher with the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, said the United States could do more to impose sanctions on wealthy Russians, including Vladimir Potanin, who is Russia’s richest documented person, with a worth around $30 billion, and Roman Abramovich, who recently sold his stake in Chelsea, a Premier League soccer club in London.
The Council of the European Union has imposed sanctions on Abramovich, which he is fighting in court. Potanin has largely escaped sanctions.
This begs the question of why the US Treasury is dragging its feet on this, Sibley said.
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