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March 21, 2023
The United States’ Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a warning to domestic banks this week about Russian oligarchs who have been sanctioned by Washington bypassing the sanctions and buying up property in the US.
FinCEN released an official alert last Wednesday, sounding the alarm on Russian oligarchs and their proxies who may be using loopholes to buy commercial property in the US in spite of the legal stipulations against it since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“FinCEN assesses that sanctioned Russian elites and their proxies are likely attempting to evade sanctions by exploiting vulnerabilities in the U.S. commercial real estate market,” the alert reads. “Commercial real estate transactions routinely involve highly complex financing methods and opaque ownership structures that diminish transparency in a way that can allow bad actors to hide illicit funds in commercial real estate investments. Additionally, the relative stability of the U.S. commercial real estate market and the high value of commercial real estate properties can provide illicit actors with a way to generate a steady income and store large amounts of wealth.”
Russian oligarchs have been forced to find creative ways to move their wealth and store it surreptitiously after almost all western countries have sanctioned them due to the ongoing assault on Ukraine. “Thanks to international pressure and the economic restrictions that more than 30 countries have imposed on Russia for its brutal war against Ukraine, sanctioned Russian elites are increasingly left with fewer options for moving and hiding their ill-gotten wealth,” said FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das, adding that the agency is committed to exposing them.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: FOX BUSINESS