British Security Secretary Tom Tugendhat arrived in Washington to discuss with the US authorities stepping up cooperation in the fight against illegal and “increasingly skillful” Russian financial operations to circumvent Western sanctions, reports Bloomberg.
Since the start of the military operation in Ukraine, Western governments have taken steps to stop the movement of Russian assets, “often disguised by complex ownership structures,” the agency said. Now that the conflict has been going on for almost a year, officials in the West are studying how to stop money from flowing to other jurisdictions and turning it into “easy-to-disguise assets,” the article says.
Tugendhat, by his own admission, came to the US to ensure that the fight against illegal financial transactions continues and to provide protection against the threats that Western democracies face.
According to Bloomberg, Tugendhat, during his visit to the states, is to meet with American colleagues from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FBI, as well as with members of Congress, to discuss improving international cooperation in the fight against “dirty money”.
Since last year, a special unit called KleptoCapture has been operating under the US Department of Justice, which has been searching for the assets of Russians who have fallen under sanctions and tracking down those who evade restrictive measures, the agency recalls. At the same time, Britain acted within the framework of the working group created by the G7 countries The Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) to freeze the assets of sanctioned Russians totaling more than $ 30 billion, the article notes.
After the start of the military operation in Ukraine, the US and the EU blocked about half of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves, as well as the property and accounts of Russian entrepreneurs who fell under the sanctions. Later, discussions began in the West about the potential possibility of confiscating Russian assets and using them to rebuild Ukraine.