For the first time: Confiscated assets of a Russian oligarch go to help Ukraine

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the first transfer to Ukraine of funds seized from a Russian oligarch. This happened during a meeting of Garland with Ukrainian Attorney General Andriy Kostin at the US Department of Justice.

“Today I am announcing that I have authorized the first-ever transfer of seized Russian assets to Ukraine,” Garland said. “These funds are from the alleged embezzlement of Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev,” Garland was quoted as saying by CNN.

In June, millions were seized from a US bank account belonging to Malofeev, against whom the United States announced sanctions in April. According to Washington, he acted for the Russian government, directly or indirectly. Late last year, prosecutors said in court documents that they were entitled to the money from Malofeev’s account at Denver-based Sunflower Bank because he had tried to transfer it to a business associate in violation of US sanctions. Because Malofeev pleaded no contest, prosecutors said the funds should be forfeited by default.

“With my authorization today, the $5.4 million in seized funds will be transferred to the State Department and will go to support the people of Ukraine,” the attorney general added. “Russian war criminals will not find sanctuary in the United States,” he was emphatic. him. His Ukrainian counterpart, Andriy Kostin, echoed Garland’s statement on Friday, adding that the two countries were sending a clear message. “There will be no immunity and impunity for international crimes,” he insisted. “Today we are witnessing the authorization of the transfer of the confiscated $5.4 million in assets to the State Department for the recovery of war-torn Ukraine,” Kostin added. “We are grateful to the United States for its determined efforts and support. The Ukrainian people will never forget this,” he added.

In late 2022, US President Joe Biden signed a law allowing the Justice Department to transfer some seized assets to the State Department so it could help Ukraine. The law limits how the government can use the seized assets, Reuters writes. American authorities accuse Malofeev, owner of the Christian Orthodox television channel Tsargrad TV, of financing separatists in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Malofeev denies this. The Russian businessman was sanctioned by Washington in 2014, and in 2022 he was accused of violating sanctions. He did not comment on the seizure in the US. He is believed to be at large in Russia.
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