US Imposes New Sanctions On Russian Oligarchs, Officials And Companies

Saturday, 07 Apr, 2018

The Treasury Department wove a sprawling epic about global power and money on Friday in announcing new sanctions that target some of Russia's most powerful men - including three with ties to Trump world.

The latest set of strict measures imposed by the U.S. against Russia "targets the top Russian entrepreneurs that refused to play to Washington's script", the embassy said in a statement.

Numerous oligarchs are being sanctioned for the first time and are close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Any assets they hold in areas under US jurisdiction could now be frozen.

The sanctions have been cast as a direct response to Russia's "malign activity", including the nation's support of the Assad regime in Syria, its actions in the Ukraine, election meddling and cyber crimes.

Other people listed in the act are: Timur Valiulin, head of the Main Directorate for Combating Extremism, Oleg Govorun, the head of the Kremlin Department for Cooperation with the CIS, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Yevgeny Shkolov, the presidential aide.

Among the companies targeted by the United States include GAZ Group, Russia's leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles owned by Deripaska, and Russian Machines and Renova Group, which is comprised of investment funds and management companies operating in the energy sector in Russia. He is famous for bringing back a collection of Faberge eggs to Russian Federation.

The 12 tycoons include Kirill Shamalov, Putin's son-in-law. In 2003, Shamalov married Putin's daughter. Deripaska's conglomerate, Basic Element, said it regretted the sanctions and was analysing it with its lawyers.

"The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

Those punished aren't necessarily involved in the Russian actions in Syria, Ukraine or elsewhere that have drawn consternation from the west.

Other oligarchs on the list include some top names on the Forbes' list of billionaires, aren't part of Putin's inner circle but like any other billionaire tycoons in Russian Federation they vie for the Kremlin's attention to preserve and extend their business empires.

Shares in some Russian companies targeted by the sanctions plummeted but the broader market and rouble showed little reaction to the new round of geopolitical tensions. In total, 24 Russians and 14 entities were put on the list.

The US Treasury introduced the so-called Kremlin list in January 2018; it included 210 high-ranking officials and large-scale businessmen.

Last month, the USA targeted 19 Russians and five other entities with sanctions in the first use of the law.

"These companies now are radioactive", he said.

"American democracy is clearly degrading", the ministry said.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty and has sued the government asking to dismiss the case.

It doesn't do anything dumb, like go after Russian gas exports. And by no means would this be the sum total of what the USA government should do to advance its concerns, said Rosenberg, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank. The law aims to punish Russian Federation for interfering in the USA election as well as actions meant to subvert democracy in Europe.

Moscow has responded in kind, including by ejecting an equal number of intelligence officers as those kicked out by the United States and several European governments following the poisoning attack of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom. Senior Trump administration officials cast it as part of a concerted, ongoing effort to push back on Putin, emphasizing that since Trump took office previous year, the USA has punished 189 Russia-related people and entities with sanctions.