A multinational task force set up after Russia's invasion of Ukraine to seize the wealth of Russian oligarchs has seized or frozen $30 billion worth of yachts, luxury real estate, and other assets in its first 100 days, the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday. The Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs (REPO) task force's "work is not yet complete," the department said. "We continue to increase Russia's cost of its war."
The Treasury Department and Justice Department launched REPO on March 16, and its members also include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Australian, Japan, and the European Commission. The Justice Department's new Task Force KleptoCapture and European Commission's Freeze and Seize Task Force collaborate with REOP to investigate Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies and seize their assets.
The U.S. and European Union have sanctioned 1,000 Russian individuals and hundreds of Russian entities, many of them tied to Russia's weapons industry, and REPO has also frozen $300 billion in Russian Central Bank funds, mostly in European banks. Among the assets confiscated by America's Task Force KleptoCapture are a $90 million super yacht owned by sanctioned Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and docked in Spain, and a $300 million super yacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov. That latter yacht, the Amadea, arrived in San Diego from Fiji on Monday, the Justice Department said.
REPO members have not decided what to do with the frozen and seized assets. Some countries, including Ukraine, want the money to be turned over to Kyiv to rebuild Ukraine after the war. The U.S. House has passed a bill to facilitate that transfer but the Senate has not acted and some civil libertarians caution that the U.S. may be overreaching and violating due process rights with its Russian asset seizures.