U.S. Targets Allies of Putin in Latest Round of Sanctions – WSJ

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206 COMMENTS The Trump administration levied sanctions Friday against more than three-dozen Russian individuals and entities, targeting senior Russian government officials as well as some of President Vladimir Putin’s closest business allies and the companies they own.
The action is one of the administration’s toughest punitive measures against Russia to date. U.S. officials say it is a response to Russian aggressions, including meddling in U.S. elections , cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, the Kremlin’s military intervention in Ukraine, and supplying bombs and materiel to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad .
“What we would like to see is the totality of the Russian behavior change,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “We want to continue having conversations and work forward to building a better relationship.”
The steps are likely to contribute to a significant escalation in tensions between Russia and the West. The blacklisting will freeze U.S.-based assets of those sanctioned, constrain their ability to access Western financing and forbid American business transactions with those targeted.
“The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday. “Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities.”
Russia in the Crosshairs The U.S. blacklisted dozens of senior Russian government officials, businesses and allies of Vladimir Putin on Friday, citing what it called the country’s meddling in U.S. elections, cyberattacks and military actions in Ukraine and Syria. The sanctioned, how they are connected and Treasury allegations against them
State-owned firms (2)
Senior gov. officials (17)
Oligarchs (7)
Companies (12)
Owner
Owned
Weapons
trading
company
Government
official accused
of money
laundering
and tax evasion
Has been investigated for money
laundering and accused of threatening
rivals’ lives and taking part in
extortion and racketeering
GAZ
Group
Suleiman
Kerimov
Rosoboronexport
Oleg
Deripaska
EuroSibEnergo
Agroholding
Kuban
Subsidiary
Andrei
Skoch
Russian
Financial Corp. Bank
(RFC Bank)
B-Finance
Basic
Element
Official with longstanding
ties to Russian organized
criminal groups,
including time spent
leading one such
enterprise
EN+
Group
Russian
Machines
Alexey
Dyumin
Andrey
Akimov
United Co.
RUSAL
Sergey
Fursenko
Mikhail
Fradkov
Oleg
Govorun
Vladimir
Putin’s
son-in-law
Kirill
Shamalov
Viktor
Vekselberg
Igor
Rotenberg
Vladimir
Bogdanov
Andrey
Kostin
Konstantin
Kosachev
Vladimir
Kolokoltsev
NPV Engineering
Open Joint
Stock
Alexei
Miller
Nikolai
Patrushev
Renova
Group
Gazprom
Burenie
Ladoga
Menedzhment
Vladimir
Ustinov
Alexander
Torshin
Viktor
Zolotov
Alexander
Zharov
Evgeniy
Shkolov
Timur
Valiulin
Vladislav
Reznik
The sanctioned, how they are connected and Treasury allegations against them
Companies (12)
Oligarchs (7)
Owner
Owned
Has been investigated for money
laundering and accused of
threatening rivals’ lives and taking
part in extortion and racketeering
Vladimir
Putin’s
son-in-law
GAZ
Group
Kirill
Shamalov
Oleg
Deripaska
EuroSibEnergo
Agroholding
Kuban
Ladoga
Menedzhment
B-Finance
Basic
Element
Suleiman
Kerimov
EN+
Group
Russian
Machines
Government official
accused of money
laundering and
tax evasion
United Co.
RUSAL
Viktor
Vekselberg
Igor
Rotenberg
Vladimir
Bogdanov
State-owned firms (2)
Weapons
trading
company
NPV Engineering
Open Joint
Stock
Renova
Group
Gazprom
Burenie
Rosoboronexport
Official with longstanding ties to
Russian organized criminal groups,
including time spent leading
one such enterprise
Andrei
Skoch
Subsidiary
Russian
Financial Corp. Bank
(RFC Bank)
Senior gov. officials (17)
Vladimir
Kolokoltsev
Sergey
Fursenko
Alexey
Dyumin
Oleg
Govorun
Mikhail
Fradkov
Andrey
Akimov
Andrey
Kostin
Konstantin
Kosachev
Evgeniy
Shkolov
Alexei
Miller
Vladislav
Reznik
Nikolai
Patrushev
Viktor
Zolotov
Timur
Valiulin
Alexander
Zharov
Alexander
Torshin
Vladimir
Ustinov
The sanctioned, how they are connected and Treasury allegations against them
Companies (12)
Oligarchs (7)
Owned
Owner
Has been investigated for money
laundering and accused of
threatening rivals’ lives and taking
part in extortion and racketeering
GAZ
Group
Government official
accused of money
laundering and tax
evasion
Suleiman
Kerimov
Oleg
Deripaska
EuroSibEnergo
Agroholding
Kuban
Official with longstanding
ties to Russian organized
criminal groups, including
time spent leading
one such enterprise
Andrei
Skoch
B-Finance
Basic
Element
EN+
Group
Russian
Machines
State-owned firms (2)
United Co.
RUSAL
Weapons
trading
company
Vladimir
Putin’s
son-in-law
Kirill
Shamalov
Viktor
Vekselberg
Igor
Rotenberg
Vladimir
Bogdanov
Rosoboronexport
Subsidiary
Ladoga
Menedzhment
Russian
Financial Corp. Bank
(RFC Bank)
NPV Engineering
Open Joint
Stock
Renova
Group
Gazprom
Burenie
Senior gov. officials (17)
Mikhail
Fradkov
Vladimir
Kolokoltsev
Sergey
Fursenko
Oleg
Govorun
Konstantin
Kosachev
Alexey
Dyumin
Andrey
Akimov
Evgeniy
Shkolov
Alexei
Miller
Nikolai
Patrushev
Alexander
Torshin
Vladimir
Ustinov
Vladislav
Reznik
Andrey
Kostin
Viktor
Zolotov
Alexander
Zharov
Timur
Valiulin
The sanctioned, how they are connected and Treasury allegations against them
Owner
Owned
Companies (12)
Oligarchs (7)
Has been investigated for money laundering
and accused of threatening rivals’ lives and
taking part in extortion and racketeering
Oleg
Deripaska
Agroholding
Kuban
B-Finance
Basic
Element
EN+
Group
Russian
Machines
EuroSibEnergo
GAZ
Group
United Co.
RUSAL
Vladimir
Putin’s
son-in-law
Kirill
Shamalov
Ladoga
Menedzhment
Viktor
Vekselberg
Igor
Rotenberg
Vladimir
Bogdanov
NPV Engineering
Open Joint
Stock
Renova
Group
Gazprom
Burenie
Official with longstanding ties
to Russian organized criminal
groups, including time spent
leading one such enterprise
Andrei
Skoch
Government official
accused of money
laundering and tax evasion
Suleiman
Kerimov
State-owned firms (2)
Weapons trading
company
Subsidiary
Russian
Financial Corp. Bank
(RFC Bank)
Rosoboron-
export
Senior gov. officials (17)
Mikhail
Fradkov
Sergey
Fursenko
Alexey
Dyumin
Andrey
Akimov
Andrey
Kostin
Konstantin
Kosachev
Oleg
Govorun
Vladimir
Kolokoltsev
Vladislav
Reznik
Alexei
Miller
Nikolai
Patrushev
Evgeniy
Shkolov
Alexander
Zharov
Timur
Valiulin
Vladimir
Ustinov
Alexander
Torshin
Viktor
Zolotov
Source: Treasury Department
Russia’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said the latest U.S. steps will harm U.S.-Russian economic cooperation, adding that no amount of pressure will deter Russia from its course. Moscow, it said, would respond firmly to the sanctions.
Among those sanctioned were tycoons in Mr. Putin’s inner circle, including the Russian president’s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, and oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Share prices for two of Mr. Deripaska’s companies sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury plummeted after the announcement. United Co. Rusal PLC, one of the world’s largest aluminum producers responsible for 7% of global production, fell more than 10%. Share prices for EN+ Group, a sanctioned company that owns Rusal and major Russian electricity and coal assets, fell 20% after the news.
Friday’s sanctions were viewed by many U.S. lawmakers and Western Russia experts as a litmus test for the administration’s commitment to punishing Moscow. Several people targeted had connections to Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and to his cabinet, as well as to officials from previous administrations. The list is likely to mute some of the criticism by lawmakers and critics who say the White House has pulled its punches in challenging Moscow.
Tensions between Russia and the West had been building for years, but they escalated to a new level after the U.K. nerve-agent attack blamed on Moscow and cyberhacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, which U.S. officials say were orchestrated by the Kremlin.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who has been one of the president’s toughest critics in Congress, praised Friday’s action. “By isolating Putin’s regime and financially punishing his support base among the oligarchs, we may be able to induce a change in Moscow’s behavior,” Mr. Schiff said.
Related Video The deepening rift between Moscow and the West is raising tensions to levels not seen since the Cold War. Following a coordinated response by Western allies, scores of Russian diplomats and intelligence officers have been expelled. WSJ’s Niki Blasina explains the escalating situation. But he added that the measures “would be stronger if accompanied by a clear statement from the president himself that the U.S. recognizes Russia’s attack on our democracy and its destabilizing behavior.”
By sanctioning Mr. Deripaska as well as numerous companies associated with him, the Treasury Department appeared to be sending a signal to Russians who may become ensnared in the broad investigation into Russia’s meddling with the U.S. elections. Mr. Deripaska is known to have been a key patron of Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign finance chairman who worked at one time for Moscow-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
U.S. officials said Mr. Deripaska had been investigated over allegations of money laundering and threatening the lives of business rivals , and he was previously barred from the U.S. for his suspected ties to organized crime. Mr. Deripaska, named in a public U.S. Treasury blacklist in January as a possible target for sanctions, stepped down as Rusal’s president in late February . Mr. Deripaska or a representative for Rusal weren’t available for comment.
Mr. Manafort is fighting criminal charges stemming from the Justice Department investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian operatives interfering in U.S. elections and whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct federal investigators. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion and obstruction of justice, and Moscow has denied meddling in the election. Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to tax and bank fraud charges in federal court.
Mr. Trump has often praised Mr. Putin, and last month he raised the idea of inviting the Russian leader to the White House . The president’s reluctance to call out Russia for its actions that U.S. officials say threaten American interests has fueled lawmaker concerns.
“The consequences are far reaching, it’s a dangerous moment that needs a whole of government approach,” said Heather Conley, a former deputy assistant secretary at the State Department in the Bush administration who is now a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We’ve seen Russian behavior only escalate and it’s unclear where we are we going,” she said.
The appearance of Viktor Vekselberg, founder of the Russian management and investment company Renova Group, also sanctioned Friday, is a surprise to some Kremlin watchers, and it may unsettle some Western officials who have ties to the Russian magnate. John Deutch, who served as director of Central Intelligence in the Clinton administration, sits on Renova’s board of directors, as well as Josef Ackermann, previously chairman of the management board of Deutsche Bank . Messrs. Deutch and Ackermann weren’t available to comment.
According to Russia experts, Mr. Vekselberg is a partner with Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, who Treasury Secretary Mnuchin temporarily partnered with in his Hollywood production and finance firm, Ratpac-Dune . Mr. Mnuchin told a government ethics office last year he would divest his interest in that and other assets. Mr. Blavatnik is also a major U.S. political financier, according to campaign finance data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, donating largely to Republican candidates, but also to some Democrats.
“This list of 12 companies owned or controlled by the sanctioned oligarchs should not be viewed as exhaustive,” the U.S. Treasury warned, indicating the U.S. may penalize companies and individuals linked to the sanctioned entities.
Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs who was added to Treasury’s blacklist Friday, said the action was “another unjustified, unfriendly and meaningless step,” according to state-run media organization RIA-Novosti.
Rostec, the parent company of Russia’s arms-exporting monopoly Rosoboronexport , which was also sanctioned, said the measures were an attempt to hit the country’s arms exports, the second biggest in the world. Treasury said the company was sanctioned for providing military equipment and support for the Syrian government.
“All these bold words and accusations are just a pretext to push Russia out of the global arms market,” Rostec said in a statement to Russian news agencies.
Basic Element , another company targeted in Friday’s blacklist as an investment vehicle for Mr. Deripaska, said it regretted the actions and is currently analyzing the situation with its legal advisers.
Treasury’s targeting of key individuals in Russia’s energy sector—the economy’s biggest industry—is a warning shot to Moscow that the U.S. could hit the country where it’s most vulnerable.
Among those sanctioned include Igor Rotenberg, who owns a controlling interest in the now-sanctioned oil and gas drilling company Gazprom Burenie; Alexei Miller, chairman of Russia state natural gas firm Gazprom; and Vladimir Bogdanov, head of Surgutneftegaz , an oil company.
—Alan Cullison in Washington contributed to this article.
Write to Ian Talley at [email protected]

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