A new task force set up by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), KleptoCapture, will also target cryptocurrency exchanges. Financial institutions, banks, money transfer services and crypto exchanges that allow Russian oligarchs to move money “will be in the crosshairs of this investigation.”
DOJ’s KleptoCapture task force will take a ‘broader view’
A new Department of Justice (DOJ) task force, KleptoCapture, will apply sanctions against Russian oligarchs and target anyone who helps hide their money, including crypto service providers, a senior DOJ official reportedly said on Friday.
The KleptoCapture Task Force was launched on March 2. It is “an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed, along with its allies and their partners, in response to unprovoked Russian attacks. military invasion of Ukraine,” the DOJ described.
Noting that the KleptoCapture task force will take a “broader view” of who it sees as an enabler in sanctions evasions, the DOJ official said:
Our goal is to bring any appropriate charges against any sanctioned Russian oligarch or entity, and those who would help them evade economic sanctions.
In addition to those who willfully assist in money laundering, the official pointed out that “actors who bury their heads in the sand or indiscriminately move dirty money may face money laundering charges for their role in the concealment of these products”.
The DOJ official pointed out:
Financial institutions, banks, money transfer services, cryptocurrency exchanges that willfully fail to maintain adequate anti-money laundering policies and procedures and allow these oligarchs to move money , to allow the flow of their money, will be in the crosshairs of this investigation.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said last week that the DOJ would “leave no stone unturned” to seize assets in violation of the new sanctions.
“The task force will bring together prosecutors, agents, analysts, translators from across the department and across the U.S. government to pursue the crimes and assets of Russian oligarchs, and others who have enabled the responsible Russian regime of the invasion of Ukraine,” the senior DOJ official detailed, adding:
These enablers have amassed enormous wealth through corruption, extortion and the degradation of the rule of law. The success of this task force is defined by the dismantling, disruption and discomfort of these enablers and their network.
The official clarified that just because the oligarchs are subject to US sanctions does not mean that the Justice Department can simply seize their assets, stating: “The mere fact of being blocked, or simply belonging to a known oligarch is not in itself enough for the Department of Justice. confiscate such property or obtain a warrant of seizure”.
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