Thursday, 26 April, 2018

United States places sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies

Donald Trump Image Donald Trump still hopes to arrange a summit with Mr Putin
Charlie Simmons | 07 April, 2018, 00:46

But Congress persisted, backed by evidence from USA intelligence agencies, and in March the administration finally imposed sanctions on 19 Russian entities for "malicious cyber attacks".

The Treasury listed 7 Russian oligarchs, a dozen companies that they control, and 12 government officials.

Others on the list are Kirill Shamalov, reportedly Putin's former son-in-law, and Suleiman Kerimov, a billionaire and senator who is now being investigated for tax fraud in France. There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organised crime group.

"Nobody has been tougher on Russian Federation than I have", the president said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The legislation reinforces the U.S. commitment to the United Kingdom and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by issuing sanctions against those responsible for the nerve agent attack in the English town of Salisbury, as well as Russian financial institutions, the release said.

- Kirill Shamalov, who is reportedly Putin's son-in-law, married to his daughter Katerina Tikhonova, although neither Putin nor the Kremlin have acknowledged that she is his daughter.

The prospect of the oligarch sanctions has rattled Russia's elite, prompting some to move their assets out of reach of US and Western authorities, USA and European officials said.

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

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"Most importantly, it's a response to Russia's continued attempts to subvert Western democracies", they said. "Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilising activities".

The sanctions also include Andrey Akimov, chair of the management board of Gazprombank, Russia's largest state-owned bank, as well as Viktor Vekselberg, chair of Russian investment company Renova Group.

Rosoboroneksport, a state-owned weapons trading company, which the USA says has long-standing ties with the Syrian government.

US intelligence agencies previous year accused Russian Federation of using hacking and disseminating false information and propaganda to disrupt the 2016 elections and eventually try to ensure Trump defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump begrudgingly signed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in August previous year, despite arguing that it undermined his own authority to lead US foreign policy.

Putin's government was blamed for the poisoning of a former Russian double agent living in close US ally Britain last months, and the United States and several European states announced plans to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats in response. But Leonid Slutsky, who chairs the foreign relations committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, said there was "no sensible reasons or grounds" for the United States actions.

Senior US officials described the wealthy global businessmen as members of Putins "inner circle".

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