The US blocked a $1 billion US-based company linked to Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov on Thursday, alleging that the ally of President Vladimir Putin used this to funnel and invest darkened funds. According to the Treasury Department, Kerimov, a billionaire involved in Russian politics, secretly handled the Delaware-based Heritage Trust, which invested in a number of large public companies.
According to Treasury Department officials, the Heritage Trust, which was established in 2017, poured money into the United States through shell companies and under-the-radar underpinnings established in Europe.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pledged that the US would continue to intervene “even as Russian elites cover-up behind intermediaries and complex legal arrangements.”
She stated that the US will “actively incorporate the multilaterally coordinated new sanctions on those who fund and advantage from Russia’s war against Ukraine.”
The action comes just weeks after Fiji turned over a $300 million superyacht linked to Kerimov, who has been sanctioned by the US since 2018 for alleged financial fraud and his role in the Russian government.
Having followed Putin’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which provoked a slew of Western sanctions, the United States and European nations have increased their crackdown on Russian oligarchs.
Kerimov, who was born in the Russian republic of Dagestan in the Caucasus, rose to become one of the world’s richest people after the Soviet Union’s demise.
His family owns Polyus, a major gold producer. On Sunday, the Group of Seven industrial democratic governments agreed to a ban on Russian gold exports.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he is the world’s 127th richest person, worth $13.3 billion, according to newly updated figures.
Kerimov sparked an international incident in 2017 when he was detained by French authorities on his way to Nice on suspicion of tax evasion and the suspicious purchase of five luxury villas.
The charges were eventually dropped after Russia summoned a French envoy to protest, but French investigators reopened an investigation in 2019.