The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of State sanctioned more than two dozen individual Russians last week, piling on the financial pressure on the elites who have influence with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The aid of these individuals, their family members, and other key elites allows President Vladimir Putin to continue to wage the ongoing, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” according to a release from the Treasury Department on March 3.
“Treasury is committed to holding Russian elites to account for their support of President Putin’s war of choice,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen, adding that the move demonstrates “our commitment to impose massive costs on Putin’s closest confidants and their family members and freeze their assets in response to the brutal attack on Ukraine.”
The U.S. and Western partners and allies have been pointedly sanctioning Russian oligarchs, saying these elites have pillaged the Russian state and used family members to move and conceal assets.
The announcement said the Treasury Department will share financial intelligence and other evidence with the Department of Justice to support criminal prosecutions and seizure of assets.
Here’s a look at the wealthy individuals the U.S. singled out for sanctions last week:
Alisher Usmanov is one of Russia’s wealthiest billionaires, whose vast holdings include interests in the metals and mining, telecommunications and information technology sectors both in and outside of Russia.
His super-yacht “Dilbar” — which has two helipads and an indoor pool — is one of the world’s largest, worth between $600-$735 million and costs an estimated $60 million a year to operate.
His business jet is believed to have cost between $350 and $500 million and is one of the largest privately owned planes in Russia. The Treasury Department states it was previously leased out for use by Uzbekistan’s president.
Treasury pointed to Usmanov’s alleged financial ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, who reportedly had use of “luxurious residences” controlled by Usmanov.
The U.K. also announced sanctions and a full asset ban on Usmanov, saying he had “significant interests in English football clubs Arsenal and Everton, owns several properties worth tens of millions of pounds and pegged his worth in excess of $18.4 billion.
Nikolay Petrovich Tokarev
Nikolay Tokarev, whom the Treasury Department called a “long-time Putin associate,” is the president of the state-owned Transneft pipeline company, which the department called “one of Russia’s most important companies.” He’s also spent time in the government — first in the 1980s as a KGB agent alongside Putin in Dresden, then in the administrative department of the President of the Russian Federation. His wife, Galina Alekseyevna Tokareva, is also being sanctioned.
The daughter of Nikolay Tokarev, Tokareva owns a what the Treasury Department calls a real estate empire valued at more than $50 million in Moscow, as well as at least three companies — one of which, based in Croatia, owns oceanfront property on a Croatian island that includes an villa built by Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I.
This isn’t the first time the U.S. has sanctioned Prigozhin. The financial backer of the Internet Research Agency, which runs massive social media influence campaigns, Prigozhin was previously sanctioned for facilitating attempts to interfere in U.S. elections. Prigozhin “directs the generation of content to denigrate the U.S. electoral process and funds Russian interference efforts while also attempting to evade sanctions by standing up front and shell companies both in and outside of Russia,” according to the Treasury Department, which said Prigozhin’s influence apparatus has been on sowing discord on social issues in Ukraine and attempting to spread disinformation about the United States government.
Prigozhin’s networks also allegedly helped Russia interfere in elections and subvert public opinion in Asia; spread false narratives in Africa; and spread disinformation on European politicians in support of Russia’s goals in Ukraine.
The U.S. also sanctioned his family members, including his wife Lyubov Prigozhina, and his daughter and son, Polina Prigozhina and Pavel Prigozhin.
First sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014, Rotenberg owns part of Russian oil and gas drilling company Gazprom Burenie, along with his nephew, Igor, according to the Treasury Department. At the time, Treasury said Rotenberg helped support “Putin’s personal projects by receiving and executing high-price contracts for the Sochi Olympics and for state-controlled energy giant Gazprom.”
After he was sanctioned, he and his brother Arkady Boris Rotenberg used shell companies to buy “tens of millions of dollars’ worth of art from major auction houses” and others, despite the sanctions, according to the State Department.
The current round of sanctions, which also includes his wife Karina and his sons Roman and Boris, are for his role in SMP Bank.
According to Forbes, he is worth more than $1.1 billion and is also the vice president of the Russian Judo Federation.
The brother of Boris Rotenberg, Arkady Rotenberg was also first sanctioned in 2014. According to the State Department, Rotenberg owns PSJC Mosotrest, which has helped build and maintain the Kerch Bridge between Russia and Crimea, which Russia has used to help claim sovereignty over the region it invaded in 2014.
cHe sold his son Igor his interest in the Russian oil and gas drilling company Gazprom Burenie, according to Treasury. The U.S. also sanctioned Igor, who was first sanctioned in 2018, and Rotenberg’s other son Pavel and his daughter Liliya.
According to Forbes, he is worth $3 billion — and was once Putin’s judo sparring partner. The International Judo Federation removed him from the Russian Judo Federation, where he was the “development manager.”
When the U.S. originally sanctioned Sergei Chemezov in 2014, the State Department described him as “a trusted ally of Putin” whose long relationship dated back to the 1980s when they lived in the same East Germany apartment complex as the future Russian leader. Chemezov is now the CEO of the Russian state-owned conglomerate Rostec, which is involved in a number of industries, including defense.
Chemezov was sanctioned again last week along with his wife Yekaterina, his son Stanislav, and stepdaughter Anastasiya.
The U.S. also announced sanctions on Igor Shuvalov, who as chairman of VEB.RF, a state-owned development and investment firm, the State Department described as a member of Putin’s inner circle. Like Usmanov, the U.S. also put a full block on Shuvalov’s assets.
Shuvalov was a deputy prime minister under both Dmitry Medvedev and later under Putin. The Biden administration also specifically cited actions last week against Shuvalov’s five companies, his wife Olga, his son Evgeny and his company and jet, and his daughter Maria and her company.
Like Usmanov, the U.K. also placed a full asset ban on Shuvalov, calling him “a core part of Putin’s inner circle,” and saying his assets in the U.K. include real estate worth more than 11 million pounds.