US Imposes New Sanctions On Russian Oligarchs, Officials And Companies

New U.S. sanctions are expected to target oligarchs with connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bloomberg  Andrey Rudakov

New U.S. sanctions are expected to target oligarchs with connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bloomberg Andrey Rudakov

But Congress persisted, backed by evidence from US intelligence agencies, and in March the administration finally imposed sanctions on 19 Russian entities for "malicious cyber attacks".

The US on Friday imposed new economic sanctions on 17 senior Russian government officials, a state-owned weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank, seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin along with 12 companies they own or control.

In addition to Deripaska and Kerimov, other businessmen on the sanctions list include Viktor Vekselberg, key owner of Renova holding group who Forbes magazine ranks as Russia's 9th richest businessman with a net worth of $14.4 billion.

Last month, the Treasury Department announced sanctions on 24 Russian entities and individuals in an effort it said shows the Trump administration is "confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity".

In all, 38 Russian oligarchs, government officials and businesses have been included on the list.

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"Nobody has been tougher on Russian Federation than I have", the president said at a news conference on Tuesday. "Rather, the United States is taking these actions in response to the totality of the Russian government's ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activities across the world". Shamalov is married to Putin's daughter, Katerina Tikhonova.

The newly-imposed sanctions will freeze assets of those singled out, and ban Americans from doing business with them.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said, however, Moscow's contacts with the US government would not be brought to an end by the sanctions.

Some, but not all, of the individuals sanctioned will also be prohibited from entering the United States.

State-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport, and the Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new USA sanctions.

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Lastly, Russian-owned state firms including weapons trader Rosoboroneksport and the Russian Financial Corporation Bank (RFC Bank) are being targeted due to their involvement with Moscow's intervention in Syria.

Word also came Friday morning that Sergei Skripal, the ex-Russian spy Putin's regime attempted to murder in London by exposing him to a nerve agent, is responding well to treatment and improving rapidly.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, "Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities".

Other people listed in the act are: Timur Valiulin, head of the Main Directorate for Combating Extremism, Oleg Govorun, the head of the Kremlin Department for Cooperation with the CIS, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Yevgeny Shkolov, the presidential aide. The lists, required under a law passed previous year, were informally seen as lists of potential future sanctions targets, even though the public version of the oligarchs list was merely a reprint of Forbes' list of billionaires in Russian Federation.

Other oligarchs on the list include top names on the Forbes list of billionaires who are not part of Mr Putin's inner circle but, like any other billionaire tycoons in Russian Federation, vie for the Kremlin's attention to preserve and extend their business empires.

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