New US sanctions target Russia-linked yachts and jets, Putin's money manager

New US sanctions target Russia-linked yachts and jets, Putin’s money manager

The US Treasury Department announced new sanctions Thursday on Russian figures and yachts as part of an effort “to degrade the key networks used by Russia’s elites, including President Vladimir Putin, to attempt to hide and move money and anonymously make use of luxury assets around the world.”

The Treasury’s Officer of Foreign Assets Control said the measures target “a Kremlin-aligned yacht brokerage, several prominent Russian government officials, and a close Putin associate and money manager, Sergei Roldugin, who is a custodian of President Putin’s offshore wealth.”

“Russia’s elites, up to and including President Putin, rely on complex support networks to hide, move, and maintain their wealth and luxury assets,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. “Today’s action demonstrates that Treasury can and will go after those responsible for shielding and maintaining these ill-gotten interests.”

The entities targeted Thursday include the “Russia-flagged Graceful and Cayman Islands-flagged Olympia,” yachts, which the Treasury says are “blocked property in which President Vladimir Putin has an interest.”

putin-linked "Graceful" yacht in Sochi

The yacht “Graceful” of Russian President Vladimir Putin is moored at the port of Sochi, Russia, July 13, 2015. (Marcus Brandt/picture alliance via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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“While the leader of Russia, Putin has taken numerous trips on these yachts, including a 2021 trip in the Black Sea where he was joined by Alexander Lukashenko, the OFAC-designated corrupt ruler of Belarus, who has supported Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

In addition to targeting Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Treasury says it has imposed sanctions on Putin’s financial “middle man,” Sergei Roldugin.

“Sergei Roldugin is a close friend and part of a system that manages President Putin’s offshore wealth,” their statement read. “The two have known each other for over four decades, and Roldugin is the godfather to one of Putin’s daughters. Roldugin is a cellist, conductor, and the artistic director of the St. Petersburg Music House, a state-owned cultural institution in Russia .”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and businessman Sergei Roldugin

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an order to businessman and cellist Sergei Roldugin during the state awarding ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Sept. 22, 2016. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images/Getty Images)

The sanctions also target the Cayman Islands-flagged yacht Madame Gu and a helicopter onboard it, in which sanctioned “Russian Federation Duma member and billionaire Andrei Vladimirovich Skoch has an interest,” the Treasury says.

“The 324-foot Madame Gu, which is valued at $156 million, includes an elevator, beach club, gym, and requires significant maintenance and repair, including approximately $1 million for painting annually,” it added.

Flying Fox superyacht docked in Dominican Republic

The Flying Fox superyacht is seen docked at Don Diego Port on April 7, 2022 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It’s the “largest yacht currently available for charter through Imperial Yachts,” the Treasury says. (Ethan Swope/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Other new sanction targets Thursday include Yury Slyusar, the “President of United Aircraft Corporation, a Russian state-owned company” that has “supplied aircraft that have been used by Russia’s military to threaten and destabilize Ukraine” — and Imperial Yachts SARL, which “yacht-related services to Russia’s elites, including those in President Putin’s inner circle,” the Treasury also said.

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“When not in use by their owners, superyachts can be offered for charter through businesses such as Imperial Yachts, generating income for the owners, who are in some cases Russia’s oligarchs,” it added.

Russian yacht Flying Fox is seen from the air

Aerial view of the Russian yacht Flying Fox at the Don Diego port, in Santo Domingo, on March 25, 2022. (ERIKA SANTELICES/afp/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC,” the Treasury’s statement concluded.

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