President Biden unveiled new sanctions Thursday targeting influential Russians and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s yachts on the 99th day of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine — but not two oligarchs connected to first son Hunter Biden.
The slow rollout of sanctions comes despite the president threatening “swift and severe” action ahead of the invasion, which was launched Feb. 24.
New US-targeted individuals include the oligarch Alexey Mordashov, Putin-linked money manager Sergei Roldugin, billionaire God Nisanov, businessman Evgeny Novitskiy, banker Sergey Gorkov and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The Treasury Department said it had also sanctioned Monaco-based yacht brokerage Imperial Yachts and its Russian CEO, Evgeniy Kochman, and two yachts as properties that Putin has “an interest” in — the Russia-flagged Graceful and Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia.
“Putin has taken numerous trips on these yachts, including a 2021 trip in the Black Sea where he was joined by Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the OFAC-designated corrupt ruler of Belarus, who has supported Russia’s war against Ukraine,” the department added.
The US released photos of the Russian leader’s pleasure boats, but did not specify their current whereabouts.
Washington has “also targeted two additional yachts linked to Putin, Shellest and Nega, which are owned by the Russian company Non-Profit Partnership Revival of Maritime Traditions,” the Treasury Department said.
US economic sanctions can have a global bite and result in foreign companies being unable to easily transact business or retrieve their assets.
Money manager Roldugin was described by the Treasury Department as Putin’s financial “middle-man” and a “close friend and part of a system that manages President Putin’s offshore wealth.”
“The two have known each other for over four decades, and Roldugin is the godfather to one of Putin’s daughters,” the department said in a statement.
It’s unclear why Hunter Biden’s Russian business associates — including the oligarchs Yelena Baturina and Vladimir Yevtushenko — have been spared from sanctions leveled against many other members of Russia’s business elite.
Baturina in 2014 paid a firm associated with Hunter Biden $3.5 million, according to a 2020 report written by Republican-led Senate committees. She is the widow of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, and documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop indicate she may have attended a 2015 dinner in DC with then-Vice President Joe Biden.
Yevtushenkov, meanwhile, faces UK sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but hasn’t yet been targeted by the US. He reportedly dined with Hunter Biden in 2012 at Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel.