US sanctions Putin associate, yachts company

US sanctions Putin associate, yachts company

The US government has imposed sanctions on a close Putin associate as well as a yacht management firm and its owners, describing them as part of a system that allows Russian President Vladimir Putin and his elite to move money and anonymously make use of luxury assets around the globe.

According to the treasury departmenttreasury department, Kochman s company provides yacht related services to Russia's elites, including those in President Putin's inner circle. Four yachts favoured by Putin have been identified as recent as last year by Putin : the Nega, the Graceful, the Olympia and the Shellest.

According to the department, Putin used the Nega for travel in Russia's north, and the Shellest to visit his infamous Black Sea Palace, a 1 billion-seaside palace that Putin has denied owning.

The BBC reported earlier that Graceful left Hamburg where it was docked for maintenance two weeks before the invasion of Ukraine, prompting speculation that it was trying to avoid sanctions as it arrived in the Russian Kaliningrad exclave.

The treasury department did not name the 459 foot Scheherazade, an Imperial Yachts-linked ship that was seized by Italy last month for its ties to Putin.

The White House said the latest sanctions were intended to crack down on evasion and tighten our sanctions to strengthen enforcement and increase pressure on Putin and his enablers Russia's elites rely on complex support networks to hide, move and maintain their wealth and luxury assets, and that they rely on, said Brian Nelson, the under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the treasury departmenttreasury department.

He said that we will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems by which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves.

The department has also announced sanctions against the cellist Sergei Roldugin, a longtime friend of Putin who is believed to be the godfather of the Russian leader's first child.

Roldugin, already sanctioned by the EU, was named behind the scenes player in the 2016 Panama Papers leaks as a behind-the-scenes player in a clandestine network operated by Putin associates that has shuffled hundreds of millions through banks and offshore companies.

At the time, Putin defended Roldugin, denying that there was anything corrupt about his friend's involvement in offshore companies.

The state department also imposed sanctions on Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian minister of foreign affairs, and one of the country's most vocal supporters of the war in Ukraine, and Alexei Mordashov, a Russian steel magnate.