DOJ says the U.S. and allies have frozen $30 billion of Russian elites’ assets, $300 billion of Moscow bank funds

Politics

The 106m-long and 18m-high super luxury motor yacht Amadea, one of the largest yacht in the world is seen after anchored at pier in Pasatarlasi for bunkering with 9 fuel trucks, on February 18, 2020 in Bodrum district of Mugla province in Turkey.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Department of Justice said Wednesday that the U.S. and its allies have frozen more than $30 billion of Russian oligarch assets and immobilized about $300 billion of Moscow’s central bank funds.

The Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) Task Force released new details of the progress of a multilateral effort to seize high value properties owned by Russian business titans.

Global leaders believe their attempts to seize oligarchs’ luxury goods, including yachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, will fuel continued political pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine.

While the Justice Department deemed the task force’s first 100 days a success, it said the work “is not yet complete.”

The REPO Task Force will over the next few months “continue to track Russian sanctioned assets and prevent sanctioned Russians from undermining the measures that REPO members have jointly imposed,” the DOJ said in a press release.

“We are seeking to maximize the impact of sanctions on designated persons and entities while guarding against spillover that affects global commodities markets and food supplies, which Russia has disrupted by choosing and continuing to wage war,” the department added.

U.S. law enforcement and Treasury officials in charge of sanctions say Russian yacht and yacht-management companies are critical to a vast web of shell companies used by the country’s elites to secure ill-gotten profits.

Many of the sequestered ships boast luxury amenities and construction, with gold-and-marble bathrooms, decks made of rare woods and sized to accommodate helicopters, multiple cars and several swimming pools.

Since Putin began his invasion in February, the U.S. and other global powers have coalesced to support Kyiv through economic sanctions against Moscow and munition shipments to Ukrainian forces.

Russia’s attack also has breathed new life into NATO, the defensive military alliance formed in the aftermath of World War II that now includes 30 member states.

In a historic move, the Western military organization on Wednesday sent official membership invitations to Sweden and Finland, both of which cited Putin’s territorial aggression for their moves to bulk up their own alliances.

A NATO official said “the accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the euro-Atlantic area more secure,” adding that the security of Finland and Sweden during the accession process is of “direct importance.”

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