The United States government has reportedly announced that they will be offering upwards of $5 million to any US citizen who can provide information leading to the asset seizure of Russian oligarchs following sanctions put in place due to their support and role in the invasion of Ukraine.
According to Daily Mail, the US Treasury Department announced the multi-million-dollar rewards on Wednesday in an effort to clamp down on certain Russian individuals who are allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This is just the latest step in the country's goal to hurt Putin and the oligarchs closest to him financially. In the past month the US, as well as a slew of other European countries, have reportedly confiscated assets such as superyachts, mansions and private jets that belong to some of Russia's richest and most powerful individuals.
But although the Treasury just announced the new potential payouts – formally named the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program – the program was reportedly approved months before Russian forces even invaded Ukraine as part of a defense spending bill under former President Donald Trump's administration.
“Congress established the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program to further the U.S. government's commitment to combating foreign government corruption and serve United States efforts to identify and recover stolen assets, forfeit proceeds of corruption, and, where appropriate and feasible, return those stolen assets or proceeds to the country harmed by the acts of corruption,” the Treasury announced in Wednesday's launching of the program.
“The Program may pay rewards to qualified individuals who provide information leading to the restraint or seizure, forfeiture, or repatriation of ‘stolen assets,' as defined by the law, linked to foreign government corruption.”
So far, a number of oligarchs tied to Putin have had their assets targeted in the weeks following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
One oligarch, Roman Abramovich, is reportedly valued at nearly $14 billion and has since had his targets eyed for seizure. Abramovich was the former owner of the Premier League's Chelsea soccer team until being forced to cede his ownership on Friday due to the sanctions placed upon him.
Abramovich also reportedly “rushed” his $560 million superyacht, dubbed The Solaris, out of a Barcelona shipyard last week in anticipation of sanctions against him and the possible seizure of his sailing vessel and other various assets.
As Radar reported, there were also recent sightings of oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk's superyacht anchored in Croatia last week.
Medvedchuk, who fled Ukraine following the initial invasion of the country by Russian forces three weeks ago, is reportedly one of Putin's closest friends and allies and is also rumored to be one of the Russian despot's top picks to run Ukraine if Russia were to successfully take the war-torn country.