Putin-linked elites, yachts, firms targeted for sanctions

·2 min read

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. announced new sanctions Thursday on Russian oligarchs and elites, including some of the richest men in Europe and their families, as well as penalties targeting more Kremlin officials, businessmen linked to President Vladimir Putin and their yachts, aircraft and firms that manage them.

The latest U.S. penalties imposed over Russia's invasion of Ukraine also include Sergei Roldugin, considered a custodian of Putin’s offshore wealth.

Also included in the announcement by the departments of Treasury, State and Commerce are sanctions on God Nisanov, one of the richest men in Europe, and Alexey Mordashov, one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires, along with his wife and two adult children.

The actions are part of President Joe Biden's promise, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, to pursue Russian elites' “ill-gotten gains."

“Russia’s elites, up to and including President Putin, rely on complex support networks to hide, move, and maintain their wealth and luxury assets,” Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial Intelligence, said in a statement.

“We will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems by which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves,” he said.

Imperial Yachts SARL, a Monaco-based yacht brokerage and yachts including the Russia-flagged Graceful and Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia, are identified as blocked property connected to Putin.

The U.S. has worked closely with allied governments in Europe, Asia and elsewhere to impose thousands of sanctions on Russian elites, oligarchs and banks. Allied governments have done everything from barring individuals from trading in Russian gold in the U.S. to banning companies from providing accounting, legal and consulting services to anyone located in Russia.

Until recently, the U.S. and EU have largely allowed Russia's 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 about 90% over the next six months, a move that was considered unthinkable just months ago.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, “Ukraine is fighting valiantly to defend its people and its independence with unprecedented assistance 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 enabling Russian aggression.”

Others included in the latest round of sanctions are Yury Slyusar, president of United Aircraft Corp.; Vitaly Savelyev, Russia’s transport minister; Maxim Reshetnikov, the country’s minister of economic development; Irek Envarovich Faizullin, the minister of construction, housing and utilities; and Dmitriy Yuryevich Grigorenkothe, deputy prime minister and chief of the government staff

Earlier this year, Treasury, the Justice Department and other agencies convened a task force known as REPO — short for Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs — to work with other countries to investigate and prosecute oligarchs and individuals allied with Putin.

Fatima Hussein, The Associated Press

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