The American authorities announced Monday August 8 that they wanted to seize in Kazakhstan the Airbus A319 of the Russian oligarch and parliamentarian Andrei Skotch, targeted by American and European sanctions in the wake of Moscow’s outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
American justice obtained a “mandate” for the “seizureof this private Airbus A319-100 belonging to Andreï Skotch, a member of the Duma accused of beinglinked to organized crimeand subjected to a battery of sanctions from Washington and Brussels. The statement from the Department of Justice, Federal Police (FBI) and the Department of Commerce, specifies that the plane has been in Kazakhstan since the beginning of March and evaluates the device at “over $90 million“. Washington released a photo and aircraft registration.
«We will continue to use every legal tool at our disposal to enforce our anti-money laundering laws and prosecute those who seek to use the U.S. financial system to violate and evade sanctions.“, hammered the powerful federal prosecutor of Manhattan, Damian Williams. Andrei Skotch has been accused since 2018 by the US Treasury of having “long-standing ties to Russian organized crime groups».
US Justice Secretary Merrick Garland set up a legal and financial unit in March dedicated to prosecuting “corrupt russian oligarchs“. Baptized “KleptoCapture“, this “task forcehas more than ten prosecutors, criminal lawyers and national security experts, as well as investigators from the FBI, the tax and postal services. The cell works from the Manhattan Courthouse in New York, the largest federal prosecutor’s office in the United States.
The megalopolis on the East Coast, the world’s financial lung, is also the haunt of many Russian businessmen, who notably control huge apartments around Central Park each worth tens of millions of dollars. “An oligarchy is defined as a form of government where a small group exercises control for its own selfish and corrupt interests. Their members in Russia have long concealed their illegal activities using the US dollar“, denounced an FBI director, Michael Driscoll.
At the end of June, the American Treasury and its allied governments (Germany, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and European Union) – united within the “task forceRepo, responsible for tracking down the assets of Russian elites (yachts, planes, cars, real estate, etc.) – had frozen more than 330 billion dollars in Russian assets since the start of the conflict in Ukraine at the end of February.