Treasury slaps new sanctions on Russian elites
A Russian oligarch, the family of the spokesman for the Kremlin, members of the Russian legislature and the entire board of Russia’s second largest bank are among those hit by the Treasury Department’s latest round of sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions against more than two dozen individuals amount to an asset freeze and will mean that their U.S. property can’t interact with the rest of the economy. All sanctioned assets will also have to be reported to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).
“Treasury continues to hold Russian officials to account for enabling Putin’s unjustified and unprovoked war,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “Today’s actions also further isolate the severely damaged Russian economy by prohibiting trade in products that are key to the economic and financial interests of all Russian elites.”
Newly sanctioned properties include an Aruba-registered jet and a Cook Islands-registered yacht, both worth around $90 million, belonging to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselsberg, whose holdings total around $6 billion. Vekselberg’s financial interests, according to the Treasury, span multiple sectors of the Russian economy, and involve some of the most significant tech investments in Russia.
The board of Russia’s second largest bank, VTB Bank, were also individually sanctioned on Friday for doing business in the financial services sector of the Russian economy. VTB bank itself was sanctioned back in February.
Assets belonging to the family of Dmitriy Peskov, press secretary of Russian president Vladimir Putin, have also been cordoned off from the U.S. economy.
Peskov’s wife “has a property empire worth more than $10 million,” Treasury said. “Her real estate includes property in an elite Moscow suburb where Putin also lives, another multimillion-dollar apartment in Moscow given to her by the [Government of Russia], and an apartment in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.”
Twelve members of the Russian legislature, or Duma, were likewise added to OFAC’s sanctions list for lobbying for the Russian recognition of separatist republics in the east of Ukraine, a move described by the Treasury as a pretext for the Russian invasion.
Friday’s sanctions are the latest in a series of economic measures against Russia that include an oil ban, a possible downgrading of trade relations, and a tax penalty initiative announced Friday by Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).