US imposes sanctions against Russian oligarchs and government officials

Posted at 7:40 AM, Apr 06, 2018

The Trump administration is unleashing additional sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin along with 12 companies they own or control.

The measures announced by the Treasury Department on Friday were also aimed at 17 senior Russian government officials and the state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, which has long-standing ties to Syria and its subsidiary, Russian Financial Corporation Bank.

"Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, citing Russia's occupation in Crimea and its ongoing efforts to supply the Assad regime in Syria with materials and weapons.

The action targets Russian oligarchs including Kirill Shamalov, who married Putin's daughter and has amassed a fortune since they tied the knot in February 2013; Oleg Deripaska, a senior Russian official who has been investigated for money laundering; and Suleiman Kerimov, who allegedly brought millions of euros into France in suitcases, according to the Treasury Department.

The fresh sanctions are the latest step by the US against Russia following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, interference in the US 2016 election and a cyberattack, described as the most damaging in history.

The Trump administration has been under pressure by Congress to act to meet demands under a sanctions law passed by Congress last summer to punish Russia for interfering in US elections.