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U.S. strikes back at Putin's cronies with a new round of sanctions against Russian oligarchs

Thursday's announcement by the White House indicated that it would expand the list Russian oligarchs who are being placed under sanctions as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

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U.S. strikes back at Putin's cronies with a new round of sanctions against Russian oligarchs

This move will cut off the U.S. elites from the financial system and freeze their assets. Officials can then seize luxury apartments, superyachts, and other property in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

These sanctions target Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov, Transneft president Nikolai Tokarev, Yevgeniy Prgozhin, Boris Rotenberg, Arkady Rotenberg, Sergei Chemezov and Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia's most wealthy billionaires.

Biden's administration blames the Oligarchs for providing the resources necessary to support Putin's invasion.

Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, stated that the Treasury is committed to holding Russian elites accountable for their support for President Putin's war-of-choice. "Today, the U.S. government, in coordination with allies and partners, is demonstrating its commitment to impose huge costs on Putin's closest confidants, their families, and freeze their assets as a response to the attack on Ukraine.

The European Union is sanctioning Usmanov, a Putin ally. His holdings include vast amounts in the Russian economy, including the metal and mining, telecommunications, and information technology sectors. According to the Treasury Department, he and Putin also have financial ties.

The Dilbar, the world's largest superyacht and home to two helipads, is owned by Usmanov. It also boasts one the largest indoor swimming pools on a boat. It is valued at $60 million per year and costs between $600 million and $735 millions to maintain.
Usmanov is also the owner of one the most valuable privately-owned planes in Russia. Bourkhan is the Airbus A340-300 that is valued between $350 million and $500 million. All transactions in U.S. Dollars or by Americans relating to superyachts and aircraft such as maintenance, staffing, landing or docking fees are prohibited.

Nikolai Tokarev is another oligarch under U.S. sanctions. As an agent in East Germany during the 1980s, he served alongside Putin in the KGB. He is currently the president of Transneft state-owned Russian pipe company. This company is responsible for 90% of Russia's oil transport.

Galin Tokareva and Maiya Tokareva, his wife, are also under threat. According to the Treasury Department Tokareva's real-estate empire, which includes three companies and an island villa that Franz Joseph I, a 19th century Austrian Emperor, was valued at over $50 million in Moscow alone, is also subject to sanctions.

Prigozhin was previously sanctioned in the past for his attempts to interfere with U.S. elections. He is also the financier of the Internet Research Agency. He is accused of trying to sow discord and spreading disinformation across the globe. The U.S. also found that the IRA had spread disinformation via social media in the United States during the 2016 election. His wife and his two children are also being sanctioned.

The Biden administration announced that 26 people based in Russia and Ukraine and seven Russian entities were sanctioned Thursday in connection to Russia's attempts to spread disinformation regarding its aggression in Ukraine.

On Wednesday , the Justice Department launched a new taskforce to hold corrupt leaders and Russian elites accountable. To support criminal prosecutions, the Treasury Department will share financial information and other evidence with Justice Department in order to assist with asset seizure.

The U.S. has also placed visa restrictions on 19 oligarchs, 47 of their relatives and close associates as part of the latest round sanctions.

The State Department will also target 22 defense related firms. These include companies that produce and develop military equipment like fighter jets, missiles, and other Russian military vehicles.

Since the Russian invasion, the Biden administration has issued a series of broad sanctions against Russian elites and financial institutions. This includes the Central Bank of Russia (the country's largest financial institution) and Putin himself.

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