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Feds move to seize Russian billionaire’s $90 million private airplane

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Federal prosecutors obtained a warrant to seize a $90 million airplane owned by Russian billionaire and politician Andrei Skoch, who has been the subject of sanctions since 2018. 

Skoch, whose net worth is pegged at $6.2 billion by Forbes, is the beneficial owner of the Airbus A319-100 through multiple shell companies tied to his romantic partner, according to the warrant. 

The Treasury Department originally sanctioned him in April 2018 due to his “longstanding ties to Russian organized criminal groups, including time spent leading one such enterprise.” 

A judge authorized a warrant for the seizure of Russian billionaire Andrei Skoch’s $90 million Airbus A319-100. 
(U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York)

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the Treasury Department slapped him with additional sanctions for “support[ing] the Kremlin’s efforts to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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Skoch has a significant stake in USM Holdings Limited, a Russian company with assets across the metals, mining, and telecoms industries, according to the warrant. 

“Today’s action demonstrates that the U.S. government will be relentless in our efforts to bring to justice those that are enabling Putin’s heinous war against Ukraine,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod said in a statement on Monday. 

Skoch also owns a 324-foot, $156 million yacht that has been flagged as blocked property by the Treasury Department. 

The investigation was spearheaded by Task Force KleptoCapture, the Department of Justice’s interagency operation that is enforcing sweeping sanctions against the Russian economy and officials close to the Kremlin in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. 

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“The sanctions levied by the U.S government and the work of this task force demonstrate to these offensively wealthy oligarchs who support Russia’s military aggression that they are not untouchable, and we are dramatically impacting their way of life,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll said in a statement. 

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