During Ukraine Invasion, IRS Targets oligarchic Police Sanctions

A global cat and mouse punishment game is currently underway. This week, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an office of the Treasury Department, issued a new warning to financial institutions urging them to identify and report suspicious transactions involving any estate, luxury goods and other high-value assets of the sanctioned Russian elite and their families. It warned jewelry and art dealers that those assets could be especially ripe for evading Russian sanctions.

“Because real estate, luxury goods, and other high-value assets can be used as a store of value, medium of exchange, or investment, Russian elites are sanctioned and their proxies can use such assets to evade expanding United States and other sanctions and restrictions imposed in response to the invasion of the Russian Federation in Ukraine,” network, called FinCEN, said.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday also opened the new Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Bonus Program, which offers rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the seizure of stolen assets related to Russia or other foreign governments. And, to improve international coordination in targeting Russian assets, the United States announced a Russian oligarchic Multilateral Task Force with partners from Australia, Canada, Germany, and France. , Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the European Commission.

Much of sanctions enforcement in the United States will be done through the IRS. Officials with the agency said they will use financial tracing technology and work with banks and international partners. to track how financiers and others are moving money and assets around the world in violation of sanctions. They were looking for signs of newly created fictional businesses that could be used to shelter assets and transactions related to cryptocurrenciesthat criminals use to transfer money anonymously.

According to the report, the IRS seized $3.6 billion in stolen crypto last year and has surpassed that number this year.

Mr Rettig personally brought up the case on Thursday morning when he testified before the House Ways and Means Committee.

“The presence of a strong, robust criminal tax enforcement agency provides significant deterrence to those willing to evade their legal obligations to our country,” said Mr. Rettig. . “Without sufficient resources, we risk sending a much less powerful message to current and active tax evaders.”

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