An American judge authorized US prosecutors the seizure of a $90million Airbus plane belonging to Andrei Skoch, a sanctioned Russian oligarch. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan stated Monday (8 August) that they had received permission from the judge.
In 2018, the US Treasury Department sanctioned Skoch for his alleged connections to Russian organized crime groups. In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2018, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued additional sanctions against Skoch.
Washington tried to press President Vladimir Putin to halt the military campaign by freezing assets and seizing them.
“US law enforcement has shown that international shell games won’t suffice to conceal the fruits of corruption money laundering,” Andrew Adams (federal prosecutor) said in a statement.
Prosecutors said that Skoch, a billionaire and member the pro-Putin United Russia Party, owns the plane through trusts and shell companies tied to his romantic partner.
Prosecutors said that payments in US dollars for registration and insurance continued between 2018 and 2021, in spite of sanctions.
Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operations”.
According to court papers, the plane is currently in Kazakhstan. The Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United States didn’t immediately respond to a request.
Skoch owned a yacht measuring 324 feet (98.76m) in June. It was anchored in Dubai. Dubai has become a haven for Russian wealth since the West increased sanctions against Putin’s allies.
In June, a US court issued warrants to seize two luxury planes belonging to Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire. KleptoCapture also brought to the United States the seized Amadea yacht, which was $300 million in value, owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a sanctioned oligarch.
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