- Garland vowed the US will not relent in its efforts to hold Russian oligarchs accountable.
- “It does not matter how far you sail your yacht,” he told reporters of the Justice Department’s vow.
- The DOJ worked with the Spanish government to seize a $90 million megayacht on Monday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed on Wednesday that the US will go to any lengths to punish criminals still backing Russian President Vladimir Putin as his troops continue their war in Ukraine.
“Our message to those who continue to enable the Russian regime through their criminal conduct is this: It does not matter how far you sail your yacht. It does not matter how well you conceal your assets. It does not matter how cleverly you write your
or hide your online activity,” Garland said during a news conference. “The Justice Department will use every available tool to find you, disrupt your plots, and hold you accountable.”
Garland’s comments come as the Justice Department ramps up its efforts to investigate and prosecute Putin’s enablers. On Monday, FBI agents working with the Spanish government seized a $90 million megayacht known as “Tango” in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the country’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The US government says the luxury boat belongs to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, a close Putin ally who leads Renova Group, a conglomerate encompassing metals, mining, tech, and other assets.
The seizure marked the first time a special DOJ task force took possession of a sanctioned individual’s asset since Russia’s war began. Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said it would not be the last.
“In seizing the Tango, the department demonstrated our commitment to holding accountable corrupt Russian oligarchs,” Monaco said during the news conference, “a commitment that we are not finished honoring.”
Also on Wednesday, the DOJ announced charges against a Russian oligarch, Konstantin Malofeyev, for violating US sanctions.
Russian oligarchs have long spent some of their staggering wealth on art, palatial estates, and megayachts.
US and international lawmakers have called on the West to seize these assets as a way to squeeze the Russian elite. Insider has a running list of the superyachts and properties that have been seized by Western governments thus far. The Dutch went so far as to seize 12 yachts that were still under construction.