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US imposes sanctions against Russian oligarchs, government officials

April 06, 2018 19:40 IST

The state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new sanctions.

The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs, including President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, and several entities accused of supporting and profiting from the Russian government’s efforts to undermine western democracies.

The measures announced by the Treasury Department were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials.

The state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new sanctions.

“The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites,” US Treasury Secretary Steven T Mnuchin said as he announced the new set of sanctions against Russia.

 

The action targets Russian oligarchs including Kirill Shamalov, who married Putin’s daughter and has amassed a fortune since they tied the knot in February 2013; Oleg Deripaska, a senior Russian official who has been investigated for money laundering; and Suleiman Kerimov, who allegedly brought millions of euros into France in suitcases, according to the Treasury Department.

The fresh sanctions are the latest step by the US against Russia following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, interference in the US 2016 election and a cyberattack, CNN said.

“The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities,” Mnuchin said.

“Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities,” he said.

In all the US has designated seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank.

As a result, all assets subject to US jurisdiction of the designated individuals and entities, and of any other entities blocked by operation of law as a result of their ownership by a sanctioned party, are frozen, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealings with them.

Additionally, non-US persons could face sanctions for knowingly facilitating significant transactions for or on behalf of the individuals or entities blocked by the US on Friday.

Russia has contributed to the instability of the Government of Syria through the sales and transfer of Russian-origin military equipment in support of Assad’s regime, enabling Assad to continue carrying out attacks against Syrian citizens, the Treasury said.

“These attacks have included chemical weapons attacks, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Syrian citizens,” it said.

The US identified more than 200 wealthy Russians, top officials and business leaders in January and later slapped sanctions in March on Russian government hackers and spy agencies for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and the cyberattack.

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