With the continuous Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Biden administration has moved one step forward in sanctioning Russian oligarchs.
The US would “seize and freeze” most of the assets belonging to Russian billionaires and oligarchs.
Russian Oligarchs Can Lose Big Money in No Time
These assets of oligarchs that are at risk include real estate, giant boats, and other pricey assets that could be as costly as millions of dollars.
Reportedly, America is collaborating with its allies to create new teams that would seek to freeze the assets.
On Wednesday, Janet Yellen and Merrick Garland, the US Treasury Secretary and attorney general, respectively convened a task force named REPO. This task force is mandated to enforce sanctions against oligarchs.
REPO, which stands for Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs, will be empowered and thus work to investigate different oligarchs and rich men who have deep connections with President Vladamir Putin.
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the Biden administration is finally cracking down on Russian oligarchs’ American assets—including a lot of real estate. Tackling this type of corruption is long overdue—and tricky. Here’s why:
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 16, 2022
Currently, the group is looking for 50 individuals; the names of 28 of them have already been announced publicly.
While announcing the formation of the task force, the White House mentioned Italy, the UK, France, and some other countries are part of the alliance that would seek the information of the rich to sanction them.
This group will be working in collaboration with another group named KleptoCapture, which is led by the US Justice Department. The group is also mandated to find out about Russia’s oligarchs and billionaires.
Reportedly, American sanctions against Russia are damaging the country to an unimaginable extent.
This can be gauged by the fact Russia could not import some vital equipment for its military gear, not to mention almost $600 billion of Russian assets has already been frozen.
The stock markets of the country did not open since the start of the sanctions.
According to the Institute of International Finance, Russia’s economy will drop as much as 15 percent this year, compared to the growth of three percent, which was envisioned before the invasion of Ukraine.
Snatching Assets is No Walk in the Park
A federal prosecutor named Andrew Adams explained the complexities associated with freezing the assets of oligarchs. He noted it is not as simple as walking and snatching the yacht from billionaires.
Instead, you have to link the property to a crime in order to seize it.
In addition to this, the former prosecutor of the Justice Department, Ryan Fayhee, stated a probable cause of justifying the seizure is important while snatching any private property.
Thus, the process of snatching assets can even take years, Fayhee added.
Not only this, but the complexities of the financial structure of the world put innocent people at risk as well. So, the US government can end up seizing the property of law-abiding citizens, a former prosecutor of the Justice Department, Jonathan C. Poling, stated.
Russia’s oligarchs are heading to Israel. https://t.co/5uZZ9Vp4Hq
— Nicole Perlroth 🌻 (@nicoleperlroth) March 17, 2022
Reportedly, both KleptoCapture and the REPO are well aware of the persisting difficulties in the process.
They will use tactics like data analytics, intelligence reporting, cryptocurrency trading, and financial regulatory statements to ensure the sanctions are impacting the right people.