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Justice Department ‘goes after Putin cronies and Russian oligarchs’

In response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the DOJ plans to seize assets.

A senior Justice Department official is issuing a stern warning to Russian oligarchs trying to evade US sanctions: no one is beyond the reach of the DOJ.

“The point of prosecuting Putin’s cronies and Russian oligarchs who seek to violate our laws and protect their assets is to say that no one is beyond the reach of our justice system, beyond the reach of our work. and our cooperation with our allies, and that these cronies and oligarchs who seek to prop up and bolster the Russian regime should not be able to get away with it while people are dying,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told Byron. Pitts from ABC News.

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the creation of a task force to target the assets of Russian oligarchs after President Joe Biden announced the decision in his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.

The United States claims that some of the oligarchs have ties to President Vladimir Putin and he is using them to launder or hide hundreds of millions of dollars obtained through corruption.

Dubbed Task Force KleptoCapture, the group will investigate and implement new sanctions, fight illegal efforts to undermine restrictions on Russian financial institutions, prosecute oligarchs who use cryptocurrency to evade US sanctions, and seize assets of the Russian oligarchs.

The deputy attorney general urged U.S. companies to step up their sanctions compliance and make sure they know who they are doing business with.

“Because if they don’t and they violate the sanctions, the consequences can be quite severe,” she said. “And our investigations are often aided by companies and financial institutions saying, ‘You know what, we’re seeing unusual activity’ and sharing that information with us, and that’s critically important.”

Monaco said the task force is a “commitment” by the DOJ to put the full weight of the agency behind the fight against “the efforts of the oligarchs and cronies of Putin to evade sanctions, launder money, violate the sanctions we are imposing in an unprecedented context”. with our international partners.”

The deputy prosecutor general juxtaposed television footage of people suffering in Ukraine with some of Russia’s wealthiest citizens evading sanctions.

“We have people dying, bombs falling on civilian populations. All the while, you have oligarchs, cronies of Putin who are committed to corruptly acquiring billions of dollars, hiding them and hide them in luxury items in the West,” she said. .

“This can’t hold,” she added.

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