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Monday, February 6, 2023

US imposes sanctions on middlemen and yachts linked to Putin

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The US has imposed a brand new set of sanctions on belongings and people tied to Vladimir Putin, together with blocking yachts linked to the Russian president and focusing on the cellist and businessman Sergei Roldugin for being the “custodian” of his offshore wealth.

The transfer comes as Washington is attempting to ramp up the monetary stress on Moscow because the struggle in Ukraine drags in to June, by attempting to intensify the harm to monetary middlemen near Putin who’ve operated all over the world.

In addition, the US can be imposing sanctions on a brand new group of Russian authorities officers and enterprise leaders, together with Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian international ministry, and Alexei Mordashov, considered one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires.

“The world has seen the extraordinary bravery of the people of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutality,” Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, mentioned in an announcement. “The United States will continue to work with our partners and allies to impose severe costs on the government of the Russian Federation for its aggression against Ukraine and utter disregard for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Brian Nelson, the US Treasury division’s under-secretary for terrorism and monetary intelligence, mentioned members of Russia’s elite, together with Putin, “rely on complex support networks to hide, move and maintain their wealth and luxury assets” — and Thursday’s transfer was meant to “go after those responsible for shielding and maintaining these ill-gotten interests”.

The Treasury mentioned it had recognized the Russia-flagged yacht Graceful and the Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia as “blocked property in which President Vladimir Putin has an interest” — noting that Putin himself had travelled on these yachts, together with on a 2021 journey on the Black Sea with Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus.

The Treasury additionally focused Imperial Yachts, a yacht brokerage primarily based in Monaco that has an workplace in Moscow, saying it offered “yacht-related services to Russia’s elites, including those in President Putin’s inner circle”.

In putting sanctions on Roldugin, the Treasury described him as a “close friend and part of a system that manages President Putin’s offshore wealth”. It added: “The two have known each other for over four decades, and Roldugin is the godfather to one of Putin’s daughters. Roldugin is a cellist, conductor and the artistic director of the St Petersburg Music House, a state-owned cultural institution in Russia.”

Imperial Yachts mentioned on Thursday: “The accusations made against us by the US government and in the press are false. We will pursue all available legal remedies to resolve this matter promptly. Imperial Yachts conducts all its businesses in full compliance with laws and regulations in all jurisdictions in which we operate. We are not involved in our clients’ financial affairs.”

Source: www.ft.com

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