The Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it is freezing more than $1 billion hidden by a Russian oligarch in a Delaware-based trust in violation of U.S. law, as the Biden administration seeks to crack down on Kremlin elites in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Suleiman Abusaidovich Kerimov, a billionaire with ties to President Vladimir Putin and a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, was found to have stashed the funds through a complex web of opaque legal arrangements and shell companies in violation of U.S. sanctions, the Treasury Department said. Kerimov has been under sanctions by the U.S. government since 2018 over Russia’s violence in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

The announcement highlights the administration’s intensifying efforts to investigate and prosecute evasions of U.S. sanctions by Russian financial elites in response to the war in Ukraine. The Biden administration has touted millions of dollars in new funding to improve federal enforcement, while joining in international efforts with Western allies to hunt the hidden assets of Russian oligarchs.

Putin’s allies have frequently taken advantage of what is known as the offshore finance system to hide assets in countries such as Belize, Singapore, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands and Switzerland and in U.S. states such as Delaware and South Dakota. But many of these longtime havens have helped find and freeze Russian funds held there since the war began.... Read More: Washington Post