Biden administration launches new ‘KleptoCapture’ task force to go after Russian oligarchs

A police officer patrols a deserted Red Square during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Valery Sharifulin

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced a new task force Wednesday that will enforce sweeping U.S. and allied sanctions imposed on Russia for its unprovoked war in Ukraine.

The task force is yet another approach the Biden administration has taken in lockstep with transatlantic allies to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and complicit Russian elites to account.

The group of interagency law enforcement officers from the FBI, Marshals Service, IRS, Postal Inspection, Homeland Security Investigations as well as agents from the Secret Service will investigate and prosecute sanctions violations in connection with Russia’s ongoing assault in Ukraine.

Teased by President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, the new Department of Justice task force, dubbed Task Force KleptoCapture, will deprive Russian oligarchs of assets and other tools used to evade sanctions.

“The U.S. Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs,” Biden said. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” Biden added.

“The Justice Department will use all of its authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions,” wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement announcing the new unit.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war,” Garland added.

The State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the new task force with his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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