US targets Russia sanctions ‘evasion brokers’
US officials have ramped up efforts to legally liquidate the property of sanctioned Russians and penalize those who help them evade restrictions, the Associated Press reported on Monday, citing the head of a special task force called KleptoCapture.
According to Andrew Adams, the group has focused on identifying those who are helping Russians to avoid sanctions and export controls.
“I think it can be quite effective to be sanctioning facilitators,” Adams said, calling them “professional sanctions evasion brokers.”
A recent report from the Treasury Department showed that more than $58 billion worth of sanctioned Russian assets have been blocked or frozen worldwide so far.
Adams pointed out that KleptoCapture aims to sell the frozen yachts and other property of sanctioned Russians, despite the legal difficulties, and use the proceeds for the benefit of Ukraine. He noted, however, that this would be done in accordance with the law.
“Part of what that means is that we will not take assets that are not fully, totally forfeited through the judicial procedures and begin confiscating them without a legal basis,” said Adams, who also serves as acting deputy assistant attorney general.
He highlighted that the task force has had “success in working with Congress and working with folks around the executive branch in obtaining authorization to transfer certain forfeited funds to the State Department.”
Meanwhile, the US Treasury revealed last week that the government was “paving the way” for $5.4 million in seized funds to be handed over to Ukraine.
Western countries have been on the hunt for sanctioned Russian assets since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine last year. Thousands of Russian individuals have since been sanctioned, with their property and money seized or frozen by the US, EU, and other countries.
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