Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Trump Administration Issues Additional Sanctions Against 7 Russian Oligarchs, Government Officials

Exclusive: Mueller's team questioning Russian oligarchs Mueller questions Russian oligarchs in connection with 2016 US elections
Glenn Montgomery | 07 April, 2018, 00:47

Officials said the goal was to show that those who have benefited financially from Russian President Vladimir Putin's position of power are fair game for USA punishments, noting that many of those being sanctioned are closely tied to Putin himself.

Officials listed Russia's "occupation of Crimea, instigation of violence in Eastern Ukraine, support for Assad in Syria, and ongoing malicious activity", including cyberactivity, as reasons for the economic sanctions.

In addition to Deripaska and Kerimov, other businessmen on the sanctions list include Viktor Vekselberg, key owner of Renova holding group who Forbes magazine ranks as Russia's 9th richest businessman with a net worth of $14.4 billion.

The target list includes some who are closely tied to Putin himself, including top-tier officials involved in Kremlin decision-making and heads of the top state-controlled business entities.

On March 15, the Trump administration said it would impose sanctions on 19 people and five entities, including Russian intelligence services, for cyber attacks stretching back at least two years.

Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, who was arrested in France late a year ago and named in the list of sanctioned individuals, also appeared in a recent BuzzFeed News investigation into Russian cyberactivity.

Trump's outgoing national security H.R. McMaster used his final public remarks before retiring Tuesday to publicly call for a tougher line on Russian Federation. Shamalov married Putin's youngest daughter Katerina in 2013, multiple sources who were at the wedding told Reuters.

State-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, and the Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new U.S. sanctions. And while it temporarily spooked investors in Russian markets, economists say it has had little visible effect on Russia's economy so far.

Some, but not all, of the individuals sanctioned will also be prohibited from entering the United States.

Lastly, Russian-owned state firms including weapons trader Rosoboroneksport and the Russian Financial Corporation Bank (RFC Bank) are being targeted due to their involvement with Moscow's intervention in Syria.

The sanctions freeze any assets that those targeted have in US jurisdictions and bars Americans from doing business with them.

Campaigners against Kremlin corruption welcomed the USA move.

Another senior national-security official said the administration is preparing a series of actions to counter Russian aggression, some of which would be publicized, while others would be covert.

Also targeted is aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a figure in the Russian Federation investigation over his ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

But Friday's announcement also came as Washington and its allies face a new diplomatic crisis with the Kremlin over the attempted poisoning of a former Russian double agent on British soil. The law was overwhelmingly passed by Congress in 2017 and signed by President Trump despite some objections.

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