Contact with Russian gangs?: US authorities want to confiscate oligarch Airbus

Contact with Russian gangs?
US authorities want to confiscate oligarch Airbus

The Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch has long been on the US radar. A new Justice Department decision calls for the confiscation of his $90 million Airbus that has been in Kazakhstan since March. Skoch is accused of having contact with Russian organized crime.

The US authorities want to confiscate a plane belonging to the Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch in Kazakhstan. As the US Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce and the Federal Police announced, an order to confiscate the Airbus A319-100 was issued the previous day. The machine has been in Kazakhstan since the beginning of March and is worth more than 90 million dollars (88.3 million euros).

Duma deputy Skotsch is accused of being connected to Russian “organized crime” gangs. The USA and the European Union have imposed a number of sanctions on him. In addition to the plane, there is also a 99-meter-long yacht and helicopter on the sanctions list, which is said to also belong to Skoch. According to “The Wall Street Journal”, Skotsch was already punished by the USA in 2018 for suspected links to “organized crime”.

In March, US Attorney General Merrick Garland deployed a unit called KleptoCapture in the Manhattan borough of New York to track down “corrupt Russian oligarchs”. It includes more than 10 prosecutors and other criminal justice professionals, as well as national security experts and FBI and tax investigators.

Oligarch fortunes frozen at $330 billion

The US and EU stepped up their crackdown on Russian oligarchs after Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine began on February 24. They confiscated luxury homes, huge yachts and planes from Russian billionaires who have ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. From the beginning of the war until the end of June, the United States and its allies Germany, the EU, France, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, Canada and Australia froze assets of Russian oligarchs worth more than $330 billion.

Recently, the United States had imposed new sanctions against Putin’s close circle. Among them, for example, his confidante Andrei Gurjew and his son. The luxury yacht “Alfa Nero”, which Guryev is said to have bought in 2014 for 120 million dollars, was expressly mentioned. The devices tracking the yacht’s location have reportedly been turned off to avoid confiscation, the statement said. Alina Kabaeva was also sanctioned. The former Tashkent gymnast is reportedly Putin’s mistress.

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