"Oligarchs be warned: we will use every tool to freeze and seize your criminal proceeds."
The US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the launch of Task Force KleptoCapture, 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 allies and partners, in response to Russia's unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.
Task Force KleptoCapture will ensure
- The full effect of these actions will isolate Russia from global markets and impose severe costs for this unjustified act of war by targeting the crimes of Russian officials, government-aligned elites, and those who aid or conceal their unlawful conduct.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said
- "The Justice Department will use all of its authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions,".
- "We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war.
- Let me be clear: if you violate our laws, we will hold you accountable."
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. Said
- "To those bolstering the Russian regime through corruption and sanctions evasion: we will deprive you of safe haven and hold you accountable,"
- "Oligarchs be warned: we will use every tool to freeze and seize your criminal proceeds."
- Arrests and prosecution will be sought when supported by the facts and the law.
- Even if defendants cannot be immediately detained, asset seizures and civil forfeitures of unlawful proceeds — including personal real estate, financial, and commercial assets — will be used to deny resources that enable Russian aggression.
- Where appropriate, information gathered through Task Force investigations will be shared with interagency and foreign partners to augment the identification of assets that are covered by the sanctions and new economic countermeasures.
The Task Force is authorized to investigate and prosecute any criminal offence related to its mission, including conspiracy to defraud the United States by
- Interfering in and obstructing lawful government functions;
- Money laundering;
- False statements to a financial institution;
- Bank fraud; and
- Various tax offences.
The maximum penalty under several of these authorities is 20 years in prison.