The US is getting close to sending billions of Russian oligarchs directly to Ukraine 2022-04-28 08:42:19

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On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a proposal for more power with billions seized from Russian oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin.

The White House has released the outlines of what it calls a comprehensive new legislative package on Ukraine that includes provisions to “simplify the process of forfeiting oligarchs’ assets, expand assets subject to confiscation, and enable the flow of revenue into Ukraine,” The White House said.

The transition to the oligarchs and their yachts is part of the a Ukraine’s biggest proposal It is asking for another $33 billion to help the country. The funding request includes more than $20 billion in military assistance as well as economic and humanitarian assistance.

In recent weeks, it was a group of lawmakers pay plans Selling yachts, apartments, art and property belonging to Putin’s allies and giving money to Ukraine as it tries to defend itself in the war that Russia has been waging since February. The idea is gaining momentum and took a huge step forward this week, along with the White House announcement.

Parliament on Wednesday evening passed by an overwhelming majority A bill called Confiscation of assets of the Law on Reconstruction of Ukraine With the aim of sending the confiscated assets to the former member of the Soviet bloc.

“Under these exceptional circumstances, the international community must be prepared to use frozen Russian assets to rebuild the country that Russia is destroying,” Co-Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) He said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during Public School Presidents' Council.  The 2022 Teacher of the Year event at the national and state level, in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, US, April 27, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hochstein

President Joe Biden at the White House on Wednesday. (Reuters/Evelyn Hochstein).

Former CIA officer Alex Finlay recently estimated At least 16 yachts associated with Russian oligarchs totaling billions of dollars were seized Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine On February 24th. A host of other assets, from private jets to real estate, have also remained idle as part of sanctions imposed by countries around the world.

I want to put money on the table

in the United States,. Much of the attention is now likely to move to the Senate, where lawmakers You have a similar suggestion And those from across the political spectrum say they want to get it done.

“I want to see the Department of Justice, the Treasury and law enforcement partners go in and take apartments and fine art and seize yachts from a bunch of thugs and crooks,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said Wednesday. “I want to put money on the table to have more weapons for Ukraine to fight.”

The outlines of the White House proposal released Thursday are very similar. Biden is asking Congress for expanded powers when it comes to confiscating and repurposing the assets of the Russian oligarchs.

The president will suggest that the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and State cooperate to take money that has been confiscated for a range of reasons — from corruption to sanctions and export control violations — for use to “heal the damages of Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Biden’s proposal would also include provisions that would make it easier for the United States to work with foreign partners on the confiscation of assets linked to foreign corruption, and would criminalize knowingly possessing “proceeds obtained directly from corrupt dealings with the Russian government.”

Working with the world

earlier this month, US officials worked with Spanish authorities For the confiscation of a $90 million yacht linked to the sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. Appears To be The first Russian takeover of an oligarchic yacht in which the US government was directly involved.

The Spanish Civil Guard stands next to the giant Tango yacht, suspected of belonging to the Russian oligarch, as it moored at the Royal Mallorca Naval Club, in Palma de Mallorca, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Spain, April 4, 2022. Juan Poates Oliver/Handout via Reuters Provided This photo is by a third party.  Compulsory credit.

The Spanish Civil Guard stands next to the giant Tango yacht, suspected of belonging to the Russian oligarch, as it docks on the Spanish island of Mallorca (Juan Poyates Oliver / Handout via REUTERS)

But other countries around the world currently control most of the confiscated assets. Under current US law, assets subject to sanctions are In a state of legal limbo It could, in theory, be returned to its owners.

During his final State of the Union address, Biden vowed to seize the “illegal gains” of Russian oligarchs. If the movement continues to gain strength around the world, Ukraine may receive billions to eventually rebuild it.

Ben Wershkull is a writer and producer at Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

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