The Department of Justice (DOJ) says crypto exchanges will be included in a sweeping new strategy to clamp down on the assets of Russian oligarchs.
Earlier this month, the DOJ announced the launch of a new task force called KleptoCapture aimed at targeting oligarchs and other high-ranking Russian officials during its war with Ukraine.
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According to the DOJ, the task force is “dedicated to enforcing sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the US has imposed, along with allies and partners, in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.”
In a new interview with NBC News, an unnamed senior Justice Department official says the task force will not only enforce the sanctions but also seek to seize their crypto assets as well.
“Our success will be defined as dismantling, disruption and discomfort for these oligarchs, their enablers, and their networks.
These people amassed huge wealth through corruption, extortion, and degradation of the rule of law. These are corrupt billionaires who have to do so much to hide their assets.”
The official adds that crypto exchange platforms that willfully failed to maintain proper anti-money laundering policies would be held accountable for allowing bad actors to use their services to sidestep sanctions.
The DOJ official also says that law enforcement may target other assets held by the oligarchs.
“Their real estate, corporate shareholdings, bank accounts, yachts, airplanes, jewelry, all of that is on the table. We want to cut off funds used to support the Russian war machine or reward its enablers.”
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