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DOJ task force says it will target those who aid Russian oligarchs in evading sanctions

The new Justice Department task force aimed at enforcing sanctions against Russian oligarchs will target anyone who helps hide their money, including financial institutions and other actors who turn a blind eye, a senior department official announced Friday.

The official, who spoke on a call with reporters on the condition that they not be named, said that the KleptoCapture task force launched last week will be taking a “broader view” of who it regards as a facilitator in sanctions evasions to include not only those who willingly aid in money laundering but also actors “who stick their heads in the sand or blind themselves to moving dirty money.”

“Financial institutions, banks, money transmission services, cryptocurrency exchanges who willfully fail to maintain adequate anti-money laundering policies and procedures and allow these oligarchs to move money, to allow for the flow of their money, will be in the crosshairs of this investigation,” the senior official said.

The task force was launched as the U.S. targeted sanctions at Russian President Vladimir Putin, his deputies and wealthy and well-connected figures in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said last week that the department would “leave no stone unturned” in order to seize assets in violation of the new sanctions.

The task force is led by Andrew Adams, a federal prosecutor who leads an anti-money laundering unit in the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Last week, that office announced that it had charged Russian American former Fox News producer John Hannick with evading 2014 sanctions on Russia. Prosecutors allege that Hannick’s work on behalf of the Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev violated those sanctions, which came in response to Russia’s aggression in Crimea.

“The task force is going to bring together prosecutors, agents, analysts, translators from across the department and across the U.S. government to pursue the crimes and the assets of Russian oligarchs, and others who have enabled the Russian regime responsible for the invasion of Ukraine,” the senior DOJ official said on Friday. “Those enablers have amassed huge wealth through corruption, extortion and the degradation of the rule of law. Success for this task force is defined by dismantling, disruption and discomfort for those enablers and their network.”

Tags Government of Russia Merrick Garland Money laundering Russia Russian oligarch Russo-Ukrainian War Sanctions against Russia Ukraine Ukraine invasion Vladimir Putin
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