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Justice Department announces criminal and civil actions against sanctioned Russian oligarchs

<i>Jonathan Ernst/Reuters via CNN Newsource</i><br/>The Justice Department announced a sweeping set of criminal and civil enforcement actions targeting sanctioned Russian oligarchs.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters via CNN Newsource
The Justice Department announced a sweeping set of criminal and civil enforcement actions targeting sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

By Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN

(CNN) — The Justice Department on Thursday announced a sweeping set of criminal and civil enforcement actions targeting sanctioned Russian oligarchs and others accused of working to support the Kremlin and its military.

The announcement, made by the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, comes days before the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The task force — made up of federal prosecutors, investigators, and analysts — has targeted the web of wealth surrounding Russian oligarchs and Kremlin insiders. In the two years since Russia’s invasion, the task force has brought about 70 criminal cases against individuals and five criminal cases against corporate entities. More than a dozen of those charged have been arrested worldwide, department officials said.

The task force has also moved to seize about $700 million worth of assets, which Justice Department officials said they hope to ultimately transfer to Ukraine or use in aid. While the bulk of that money is still in the process of being forfeited, department officials said, about $6 million has been transferred to Ukraine thus far.

As the Justice Department works to enforce existing sanctions, the White House is also set to announce a new sanctions package against Russia on Friday, CNN has reported. The sanctions are aimed to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for Russia’s war in Ukraine — which hits the 2-year mark on Saturday — and for the death of opposition figure Alexey Navalny, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday.

David Lim, one of the co-directors of the task force, said Thursday that he hopes the enforcement actions demonstrate the department’s “commitment and resolve to enforcing our laws in the hopes that we are able to play a role in supporting the Ukrainian people.”

“What you have seen through today’s public announcement are our efforts at really targeting the facilitators who possess the requisite skill set, access, connections that allowed the Russian war machine, the Russian elites, to continually see have access to western services and western goods,” Lim said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland, meanwhile, said in a statement that the Justice Department “is more committed than ever to cutting off the flow of illegal funds that are fueling Putin’s war and to holding accountable those who continue to enable it.”

As part of Thursday’s announcement, the Justice Department unveiled two cases out of Florida. In the first case, prosecutors announced criminal charges against a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch accused doing more than $300 million in business in violation of US sanctions.

Prosecutors also filed a civil forfeiture complaint against two luxury condos in Miami that they say are owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Perevalov. The properties are located at the Ritz-Carlton, prosecutors said, and are valued at approximately $2.5 million.

In New York, prosecutors announced charges against another sanctioned Russian oligarch accused of laundering money to “support two superyachts.” The oligarch, Andrey Kostin, and two US-based individuals are also charged with scheming to evade US sanctions by concealing Kostin’s ownership of an apartment in Aspen, Colorado, and working to update the apartment. The three also tried to sell the home for $12 million.

The department brought additional charges against Vladislav Osipov, a dual Russian and Swiss national accused of hiding his ownership of a 255-foot luxury yacht named “Tango” in violation of US sanctions.

And in Georgia, prosecutors secured a guilty plea from Atlanta-based dual national Feliks Medvedev for his role in an alleged plot to launder more than $150 million through bank accounts and shell companies on behalf of Russian clients.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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