Aug 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. moves to seize $90 million plane owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch

Photo of a Russian flag

A Russian flag in Melitopol, which is currently under Russian forces' occupation, in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine on July 18, 2022. Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A judge has authorized U.S. prosecutors to seize a $90 million Airbus plane owned by the sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Why it matters: The move is part of the U.S. effort to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by freezing and seizing assets belonging to Russian oligarchs.

Details: The U.S. in 2018 sanctioned Skoch, a deputy of the Russian parliament's lower house and a member of the pro-Putin United Russia party, because of his alleged ties to Russian organized criminal groups, "including time spent leading one such enterprise," according to the Justice Department.

  • The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued additional sanctions against Skoch and his assets after Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • The billionaire owns the Airbus plane through shell companies and trusts tied to his romantic partner, the DOJ said.
  • Despite the sanctions, U.S. dollar transactions were made to pay for the plane's registration and insurance between 2018 and 2021, per federal prosecutors.

The big picture: The investigation was coordinated through the DOJ’s KleptoCapture task force, which is dedicated to enforcing the sanctions, export controls and economic countermeasures imposed on Russia.

Go deeper: How many Russian oligarchs' yachts have been seized so far

Go deeper