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2022-06-15 15:03:30 By : Mr. TCN Director

The White House revealed plans on Thursday intended to enhance the US's ability to seize mansions and yachts owned by the wealthiest and most powerful Russians — and sell them to help fund Ukraine's defense.

The White House said the proposal would create new authorities that can seize "property linked to Russian kleptocracy" and "allow the government to use the proceeds to support Ukraine."

The plan targets Russia's oligarchy — a small group of influential and wealthy Russians, many with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

"We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets," Biden said earlier this year. "We are coming for your ill-begotten gains."

The "proposal aims to streamline the process for seizure of oligarch assets, expand the assets subject to seizure, and enable the proceeds to flow to Ukraine," The White House said.

And it said the plan "would improve the United States' ability to use forfeited oligarch funds to remediate harms caused to Ukraine by Russian aggression."

The Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the State Department would work together "to use forfeited funds related to corruption, sanctions and export control violations, and other specified offenses to remediate harms of Russian aggression toward Ukraine," the White House said.

Thursday's proposal is the latest step by the Biden administration to sanction Russian oligarchs in the wake of the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The proposal appears to be the manifestation of a growing interest among American politicians to directly seize the assets of wealthy Russians and sell those assets to fund Ukraine's defense.

"I think it's a good idea to seize assets of those close to Putin," Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio told Insider in March. "Other countries are doing it, including Germany yesterday. If Germany is doing it, that must mean everybody is doing it."

The United States — alongside allies in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada — have frozen the assets of dozens of Russian oligarchs and banned them from doing business in their respective regions. 

The goal of those sanctions is to force Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine by hurting Russia's economy, isolating it from the rest of the world, and devaluing its currency. 

Thursday's proposal, the White House said, would "enhance the United States Government's authority to hold the Russian government and Russian oligarchs accountable for President Putin's war against Ukraine."