US government freezes Alina Kabaeva’s visa and assets The freeze on assets and visas also affects other members of the Russian elite, such as the head of fertilizer and the wife of the director of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. A woman is considered by several reports to be the longtime romantic partner of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday that the government has frozen the visa and imposed other asset restrictions on former Olympic gymnast and former Duma lawmaker Alina Kabaeva. The company also cited him as a director of a Russian national media company.
Kremlin critics, including activist Alexei Navalny, now imprisoned in Russia, have called for sanctions against Kabaeva, saying her media has taken a prominent position in portraying Western assessments of the Ukraine invasion as disinformation.
The UK had already sanctioned Khabeeva in May, and the European Union (EU) imposed travel and asset restrictions on him in June.
Chancellor of London House
Among the latest set of sanctions is Andrei Grigorievich Guriev, the oligarch who owns the 25-room Whittenhurst mansion, the second largest property in London after Buckingham Palace. Guryev is the founder of FosAgro, a major supplier of fertilizers.
His $120 million yacht Alfa Nero was also intercepted, but its whereabouts are uncertain. Sanctions also hit his son Andrey Andreevich Guryev and his son’s Russian investment firm TG AI Invest LLC. These measures prevent them from doing business with US companies and banks or with branches in the US, and prevent their assets from being subject to US jurisdiction.
The sanctions also affect Natalya Popova, the wife of Kirill Dmitriev, the director of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. The U.S. Treasury Department said Popova works for Innopraktika, a technology company run by one of Putin’s daughters.
“What we’ve seen is that the U.S. government has identified that many oligarchs are using the family as a way to avoid sanctions,” said Christian Contardo, a former Treasury lawyer now at the law firm Lowenstein Chandler LLP. “Some oligarchs would transfer ownership to their wives and children.” In April, the United States had already imposed sanctions on Putin’s teenage daughters, Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova.
Russian steelmaker Publichnoe Aktsionernoe Obschestvo Magnitogorskiy Metallurgicheskiy Kombinat, its chairman Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov and its subsidiaries are also sanctioned.
Also, the US State Department said on Tuesday that the visas of 893 Russian government officials, including those in the Federation Council and the military, would be frozen.
“While innocent people suffer from Russia’s illegal war of aggression, Putin’s cronies have enriched themselves and funded a lavish lifestyle,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “Along with our allies, the United States will continue to freeze revenue and equipment that supports Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.”
bl (AP, AFP)
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