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U.S. Readies New Sanctions on Russian Oligarchs and Families -Breaking


© Bloomberg. Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov spoke during a interview in his Moscow office, Russia on Thursday April 6, 2017. Arsenal’s second-biggest shareholder Usmanov said the London soccer team’s embattled coach should help pick his eventual successor and the board and main investor are also responsible for a recent lack of success.

(Bloomberg). President Joe Biden plans to place sanctions on Russian oligarchs, their families and associates on Thursday. The U.S. seeks to increase pressure on wealthy businessmen surrounding President Vladimir Putin as a response to Ukraine’s invasion.

People familiar with these plans said that the sanctions would be consistent with those imposed by the European Union on February 28th. They were not named in advance.

But the U.S. restrictions will be broader, prohibiting the tycoons’ travel to the U.S. and also targeting their families to prevent them from transferring assets to spouses or children, a tactic that’s been used in the past to evade sanctions. 

People said that the U.S. sanction targets are still being discussed and would not be revealed until an official announcement. 

The moves are the latest effort by the administration to turn the screws on Putin and his inner circle following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week. On Wednesday, the U.S Justice Department announced a task force to enforce sanctions and export restrictions and to seize luxury assets belonging to Russia’s wealthiest citizens.

It is believed that the administration thinks that Putin could be pressured to stop the war in Ukraine if the financial stress on the tycoons causes them to distance themselves. A State Department spokesman declined to comment and spokespeople for the White House National Security Council didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

The Washington Post reported earlier that the U.S. was preparing sanctions on Russia’s wealthy elites.

Europe announced earlier this week sanctions against several Russians, including Alisher Usmanov (metals tycoon), Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman, owners of Alfa Group, as well as Alexey Mordashov who is the head of a large steel company. Some had already been under sanction over Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. 

German authorities have seized Usmanov’s superyacht, and French authorities said they stopped Rosneft chief executive officer Igor Sechin’s superyacht from leaving port on the Cote D’Azur on Thursday. Others have criticized the illegal and unfair sanctions.

The U.S. on Feb. 24 announced sanctions against Putin, his foreign minister, some national security aides and top executives of some of Russia’s biggest banks and state-owned entities, as well as Sechin. However, the U.S. has not yet imposed sanctions against the larger circle of billionaires who have accumulated enormous wealth through the acquisition of privatized Russian businesses at bottom-basement prices over the years following the collapse of Soviet Union. 

In the recent past, many of these oligarchs had supported Putin. But several have offered hints in recent days that they’re looking to distance themselves from the war, though none have condemned Putin directly.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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