President Biden on Thursday is sending Congress proposals for new legislation allowing the U.S. to further crack down on Russian oligarchs as punishment for Moscow’s bloody invasion of Ukraine, the White House has announced.
The proposed measures, which the White House says were drafted in close coordination with the Treasury, Justice, State and Commerce Departments, will “enhance the United States Government’s authority to hold the Russian government and Russian oligarchs accountable for President Putin’s war against Ukraine.”
“This package of proposals will establish new authorities for the forfeiture of property linked to Russian kleptocracy, allow the government to use the proceeds to support Ukraine, and further strengthen related law enforcement tools,” the White House added in a statement.
President Biden speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, April 27.
Among the tools, the White House says, would be “establishing a streamlined administrative authority to seize and forfeit oligarch assets,” “enabling the transfer of the proceeds of forfeited kleptocrat property to Ukraine to remediate harms of Russian aggression” and clamping down on sanctions evasion.
“This proposal would strengthen the United States’ ability to investigate and prosecute sanctions evasion by adding the crime of sanctions evasion to the definition of ‘racketeering activity’ in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act,” the White House said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a meeting of the Council of Legislators under the Russian Federal Assembly at the Tauride Palace, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday, April 27.
(Alexei Danichev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
It would also “create a new criminal offense, making it unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess proceeds directly obtained from corrupt dealings with the Russian government.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, April 24.
(Office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy)
Biden is expected to deliver a speech in support of Ukraine later Thursday morning.
Earlier this week, dozens of defense ministers huddled at the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein Air Base in Germany for a meeting that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin later told Fox News was “all about making sure that we can continue to provide Ukraine what it needs to be successful in the fight today.”