Merrick Garland Approves Transfer of Russian Assets to Ukraine


U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday that he had given the go-ahead for the first transfer of confiscated Russian assets to Ukraine.

The US Justice Department has indicted Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev for violating sanctions imposed on Russia after last year’s invasion of Ukraine. The US claimed he financed Russians who were promoting separatism in Crimea.

Malofeev amassed his wealth through investments in various industries, including banking, telecommunications, and media.

Garland also revealed that authorities last year seized millions of dollars from accounts at U.S. financial institutions that could be linked to Malofeyev’s sanctions violations. In February, he authorized the transfer of the funds to Ukraine.

“On the other hand, this will be the first transfer of confiscated funds for the reconstruction of Ukraine by the United States. It will not be the last,” Garland said in a statement.

The confiscated funds will be sent to rebuild Ukraine in response to the Russian government’s military campaign that began in February 2022.

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A destroyed Russian T-72 tank is seen near the Pokrovy Presbyatoy Bohoroditsy church in the city of Svyatohirsk, Donetsk region, March 1, 2023, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Ihor Tkachov/AFP via Getty Images)

Congress passed a law in December 2022 directing the State Department to give Ukraine certain returns from confiscated Russian assets.

Garland announced the first such remittance in February, which mostly included $5.4 million seized from Malofeev’s investment in the Bank of Texas.

Task Force KleptoCapture

At the same time, Garland said a group of prosecutors, investigators, analysts, translators and other Justice Department officials and law enforcement partners prosecuting and seizing the Kremlin and the Russian military’s “licensed enablers” announced the involved task force “Kleptocapture”. .

“And we are also exercising new parliamentary powers to transfer certain assets seized from Russian oligarchs to help rebuild Ukraine,” Garland said. “Earlier this month, I authorized the transfer of such assets to the State Department for the first time to help the Ukrainian people.”

The transfer of such assets from Russians seized by the United States has been criticized by the Russian government as “barbaric”. Moscow has called the U.S. actions “theft” and threatened to respond with similar measures if it deems it necessary, warning it violates international law.

The Justice Department’s War Crimes Responsibility Team works closely with Ukrainian authorities to investigate specific crimes committed by Russian military personnel, including attacks on civilian targets. The United States has been unwavering in its support of Ukraine since Russia’s aggression and aggression began about 14 months ago.

“Over the past year, the Ukrainian people have shown the world what courage looks like,” Garland said in February. “For as long as necessary, the Justice Department will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and international partners in upholding justice and the rule of law.”

Trump vows to resolve dispute within 24 hours

The United States has spent billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine during its war with Russia. Republicans have tried to contain these spending wherever possible.

Former Republican President Donald Trump recently said he could resolve the dispute within a day if he was elected president again in 2024. Speaking at CNN’s town hall, Trump said ending the war and saving lives was more important than deciding who won. .

“If I were president, the war would be over in a day, 24 hours,” Trump said at New Hampshire City Hall on May 10.

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Former President Donald Trump (left) speaks with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins at the CNN Town Hall at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, May 10, 2023. A still image from a video. (Screenshot via CNN/The Epoch Times)

He said he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying both sides have strengths and weaknesses, and expressed confidence in negotiations with the two countries.

“I don’t think in terms of winning or losing,” Trump said when asked which side he wanted to win. “I think in terms of solving this problem, I’m thinking of killing all these people and stopping this country from collapsing.” [of Ukraine]”

When asked the same question by CNN host Caitlin Collins, President Trump said: They are dying – Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying. ”

President Trump lamented how many Russians and Ukrainians died along with how many cities were destroyed. He was adamant that nothing of the sort would have happened had he still been president.

Trump was able to defuse North Korea’s belligerence during his presidency, but former President Barack Obama said it would become Trump’s “most urgent problem.” Putin also failed to intervene in the conflict in eastern Ukraine during Trump’s presidency.

Reuters contributed to this report.