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Who are Russia’s oligarchs and what power do they hold?

More than 1,000 Russians and their families have been hit with economic sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine. The list includes Roman Abramovich, the owner of the English Premier League team Chelsea, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced a multi-lateral task force called Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) with representatives from Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. 

It’s part of the Justice Department’s Kleptocature task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping economic sanctions against Russian oligarchs. 

“We will leave no stone unturned. Our efforts to arrest, investigate and prosecute those whose criminal acts have enabled the Russian government to continue this unjust war,” said Garland in a press conference on March 2.

Authorities have already seized hundreds of million dollars in assets including private yachts, jets, and luxury villas.

New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski has introduced bipartisan legislation to repurpose assets seized by Russian oligarchs for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Chris Remington

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