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REPO task force freezes $30B of Russian oligarch assets

REPO task force freezes $30B of Russian oligarch assets
A task force with the mission to target sanctioned Russian oligarchs has seized or blocked more than $30 billion worth of assets, including luxury yachts. File Photo by Fabio Muzzi/EPA-EFE

June 30 (UPI) -- A multinational task force launched following Russia's invasion of Ukraine to crack down on sanctioned Russian oligarchs said it has blocked or frozen more than $30 billion in assets.

The Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs Task Force said in a statement Wednesday that during its first 100 days it has also seized several yachts, luxury real estate and immobilized about $300 billion worth of Russian Central Bank assets.

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"REPO's work is not yet complete," it said. "In the coming months, REPO members will continue to track Russian sanctioned assets and prevent sanctioned Russians from undermining the measures that REPO members have jointly imposed.

"Together, we will ensure that our sanctions continue to impose costs on Russia for its unprovoked and continuing aggression in Ukraine and to prevent funds and economic resources from being provided to or for the benefit of designate persons."

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The task force was launched mid-March, weeks after Russian launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, attracting the condemnation and punitive measures of democratic countries.

The aim of the international effort is to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his war by targeting those in his inner circle. Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the European Commission are the other participating countries along with the United States.

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The task force is also being aided the U.S. State Department's Take Force KleptoCapture and the EU's Freeze and Seize Task Force.

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According to the White House, the United States has blacklisted more than 1,000 entities and people over Russia's war in Ukraine and its sanctioned have seen the exodus of some 1,000 U.S. and multinational businesses in the country.

On Tuesday, the United States unveiled another sweeping round of punitive measures targeting the Kremlin's "war machine," which included sanctions, visa restrictions, bans on gold importation and other measures.

The sanctions and its enforcement mechanisms have seemingly taken a big bite of the Russian economy as it was announced earlier this week that it officially missed bond payments on international debt for the first time in a century.

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"We continue to increase Russia's cost of its war," REPO said. "We remain committed to fully implementing and enforcing our economic and financial sanctions and remain vigilant against sanctions evasion and circumvention."

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