DOJ to crack down on Russian oligarchs

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The Justice Department plans to investigate people, banks, and cryptocurrency exchanges that helped wealthy Russians hide or launder their money, Bloomberg reported Friday, March 11.

The actions will come from a new task force that will focus on freezing and seizing the assets of Russian oligarchs.

This follows the invasion that Russia has been carrying out in Ukraine for weeks now.

The group will be dubbed Task Force KleptoCapture and will “spare no effort” in investigating activities that “enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war,” according to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Let’s be clear: if you violate our laws, we will hold you accountable,” he said on March 2.

The task force will work with prosecutors, agents and analysts, among others, and pursue “appropriate charges” and attempt to disrupt Russian assets and their enablers.

One case involved former Fox News producer Jack Hanick, who alleged he violated US sanctions by helping launch a Russian television network for Russian business magnate Konstantin Malofeyev, who had been blacklisted by the United States. United in 2014 after funding Russian separatists in Crimea.

Hanick was arrested in London in February and the United States is seeking to extradite him.

Read more: EU to take further action against Russian leaders and Belarusian banks

The report notes that the sanctions targeted more than 100 members of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Federal Assembly, which voted for war in Ukraine and approved a measure criminalizing so-called “fake news” about the invasion in Russia.

The EU proposal also includes the banning of three Belarusian banks from the SWIFT payment network, increasing pressure on Moscow.

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