Treasury sanctions Russians over alleged election interference, nerve-agent attack

The Trump administration on Wednesday sanctioned nine Russian nationals for allegedly attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The Treasury Department announced that the nine GRU officers, who had been indicted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal MORE earlier this year for the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), are now facing penalties for “their direct involvement in efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election by targeting election systems and political parties, as well as releasing stolen election-related documents.”

The department also sanctioned two GRU officers over the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent in March.

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British officials have charged the two officers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with attempted murder, conspiracy to murder and the use of the nerve agency. Russia has denied any involvement in the attack.

Also sanctioned was Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, whom the Justice Department revealed in October was indicted for her role in overseeing finances for Project Lakhta, a Russian influence campaign aimed at interfering in U.S. elections.

“Treasury is sanctioning Russian intelligence operatives involved in cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 election and a wide range of other malign activities,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBolton exit provokes questions about Trump shift on Iran Trump called out for 'my favorite dictator' while awaiting Egyptian leader at summit: report Romney opposes Trump taking executive action to reduce capital gains taxes MORE said in a statement. “We are taking action against operatives working on behalf of a sanctioned oligarch, hacking the World Anti-Doping Agency and other international organizations, and engaging in other subversive actions.”

“The United States will continue to work with international allies and partners to take collective action to deter and defend against sustained malign activity by Russia, its proxies, and intelligence agencies,” he continued.

The department also targeted four GRU officers for their alleged roles in malicious cyber activities against the U.S. and its allies, including a Russian operation going after an international chemical watchdog at The Hague known as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Those Russian officers were also accused of launching cyberattacks on Olympic groups including the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Seven Russian intelligence officers were indicted in October for the malicious cyber acts.

The Treasury Department also announced Tuesday that it would lift previously imposed sanctions on three companies, including the aluminum giant Rusal, after Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska divested his holdings in the companies. Deripaska remains sanctioned by the U.S.

“Treasury sanctioned these companies because of their ownership and control by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, not for the conduct of the companies themselves,” Mnuchin said in a separate statement. “These companies have committed to significantly diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control.”